Home News Local News Chaves County’s only park to be spiffed up

Chaves County’s only park to be spiffed up

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A new grant obtained by Keep Chaves County Beautiful will be used to improve this neighborhood park in Midway. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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The only park owned and maintained by Chaves County is going to get some much needed sprucing up.

The newly formed Keep Chaves County Beautiful organization received $20,000 from the Keep American Beautiful-Lowe’s Community Partners Grant Program and intends to use the money to repair, replace and otherwise improve a small neighborhood park in Midway called Cumberland Park, said Rita Kane-Doerhoefer, one of the group’s key volunteers.

She explained to Chaves County Commissioners Thursday that she had been asked by a county administrator if any of the $20,893 the group received a few months ago from the New Mexico Clean and Beautiful Program of the state Tourism Department could go to Cumberland Park.

She told the administrator no, but then she and Keep Chaves County Beautiful Director Sean Davis decided to apply for the Keep America Beautiful-Lowe’s grant to help the park out.

“We’ve been waiting and waiting and finally the grant came out. We looked to see if our name was on it,” she said. “There was $556,000 given to 344 (organizations associated with the Keep America Beautiful organization). Are you ready? Wahoo! We got our money for Cumberland Park, so we are going to be redoing that park.”

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Kane-Doerhoefer said that, at the current time, the group would like to work with volunteers to paint a water fountain, plant grass and trees, and fix the basketball court.

But other changes could be occurring, too. Chaves County Public Services Director Bill Williams said he looks forward to working with the group and also has some ideas for the park, including building a walking trail around it, erecting a new fence and maybe adding some new barbecue grills to replace the ones that were stolen from the park after the fence fell into disrepair. Putting up some sort of partition to block the views of nearby waste containers has also been suggested by some people, he said.

He said county officials have been talking for a few years about improvements to the park, which he thinks probably came into county ownership as part of a subdivision developer’s plat for the area. The county has invested in pulling and repairing a well that had been filled with sand. But the irrigation system for the park has to be retrofitted so that it can work with the well as it is now. The county has a modest amount it could put into the park, he said, but any major projects, including replacement of the well should that be needed at some point, could not occur until a future budget year.

Williams did say that an individual has come forward saying that he thinks he and others could raise another $5,000 for the project, and Williams said he suggested that the individual work with Keep Chaves County Beautiful.

Although the park is not in the greatest shape now, Williams said it is still used by Midway and Dexter residents.

“Sometimes I won’t hear anything about that park for a while, and then I’ll get quite a few calls in a short period of time,” he said. “I’ve gotten probably six calls about it this week. This time of year quite a few people are using it and probably will until it turns cold.”

Kane-Doerhoefer said the money from the Keep America Beautiful-Lowe’s grant must be expended by Dec. 15, so she anticipates starting work with community partners soon.

Keep Chaves County Beautiful was organized in 2017, replacing the Keep Roswell Beautiful organization formed in 1986. Kane-Doerhoefer expressed her gratitude to Chaves County for their “trust and confidence” in the group, as the nonprofit has to have support from a local government entity to qualify for grants and Keep America Beautiful affiliation. The purpose of the group is to reduce litter, clean up and beautify public properties, and educate youth about clean and safe communities.

Kane-Doerhoefer indicated that the group has many community partners, including Roswell Seed, Waide Sand and Gravel, Boys and Girls Club, Mayes Lumber, Coca-Cola, Hobby Lobby, the Cooperative Extension Office of New Mexico State University, Hagerman and Dexter school districts, the Bureau of Land Management, Hagerman Fire Chief Chad Hamill, Ready-Mix, Peppers restaurant and Stellar Coffee.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.