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Residents express concerns at public forum

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Mayor Dennis Kintigh, City Engineer Louis Najar, and City Manager Joe Neeb lead a discussion with the citizens from Enchanted Hills in a public forum on Monday night. (Alison Penn Photo)

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On Monday evening, city officials and the citizens of the Enchanted Hills neighborhood participated in a public forum at First Church of the Nazarene. Around 50 people attended to share concerns on a range of issues including the waterline construction, Eighth Street realignment, speeding in the area of Eighth Street, and talked about a volunteer patrol to help with speeding and littering.

City Manager Joe Neeb facilitated the meeting with Mayor Dennis Kintigh noting concerns on an easel pad. Neeb and Kintigh asked the audience for their main concerns and went down the list throughout the meeting.

“The city’s budget this year was $130 million,” Neeb said. “That covers all the enterprise funds, utilities, general fund, police, fire, and everything. Forty-six percent of that budget is all capital work. It is for making these types of improvements, trying to fix infrastructure, and trying to replace equipment that is worn out. I thought that was a pretty good number when I got here. Everybody starts talking about those numbers, it’s not tied up in salaries and other costs. It’s divvied out quite a bit all within capital replacement and improvement.”

City Engineer Louis Najar and Special Services Administrator Mike Mathews informed the public on topics regarding their expertise.

On Country Club Road, there has been construction at the intersections on Montana Avenue and on Sycamore Avenue. Najar drew a diagram. The estimated dates for finishing are May for Sycamore and April for Montana. The streets of Roswell, in general, were discussed.

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“Even with the realignment, Eighth Street did not line up,” Najar said. “What we have in our mind is to not even do that alignment. Leave the area blank. The northwest corner and the southwest corner are in the old municipal airport, sell the entire quadrants to developers, which will let the developers have a blank slate. For a developer, it is an opportunity to be creative, more opportunity for you to invest, rather than us telling you exactly where this and that will go.”

The city leaders noted that private land ownership from people in other states in the Enchanted Hills neighborhood creates an issue for city development.

Bill Morris

 

discussed the city master plan for using mixed planning zoning for the neighborhood similar to Lubbock, Texas. Bartlett said the city wants to create a place, not just a subdivision. Bartlett also mentioned the city’s desire enhance Roswell’s walkability to make it a more welcoming, open community.

The public was engaged with the councilors. Every item discussed had hand raised with a story, counterpoint, a question, or something the citizen noticed. There were plenty of questions and specific issues citizens wanted to discuss like RV, parking on both sides Riverside, and barking dog complaints. Many different attitudes and opinions were expressed, but sparks flew as the topic of speeding in the Moore, College, Mullis, and Hall streets. The topic of sidewalks having to be managed by the property owners raised concerns of the inhabitants of the area.

The dysfunctional solar lights on the bike path were a sensitive issue. Najar agreed with the public and said he was also disappointed about the bulging batteries that resulted after federal funds were used to pay for them. The lights were guaranteed for five years, but have stopped working in less than three. The city will be taking the issue to court with the contractor, and supplier of the lights.

Bobbie Merchant has been picking up trash while she walks around the neighborhood and the bypass. She said this was the first public forum for Enchanted Hills she attended and said that she found the meeting to be informative and helpful.

Neeb gave out flyers for 26 question survey at the end of the meeting.

“We need your help,” said Neeb. “Don’t just wait for these types meetings to give us your thoughts and information. Some of you have been really good with email—that works very well. Get the information to us. What I am hoping that you will see tonight is that everybody is trying to serve you better, trying to do a good job, but they need that information from you. The more you help us, the better we can serve you.”

City reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.