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City council to vote on master plan funding

Bob Edwards, a representative of the Spring River Corridor Foundation, and City Engineer Louis Najar explain options for connecting the city of Roswell’s bike trails at the Infrastructure Committee meeting on Monday afternoon. (Alison Penn Photo)

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The Roswell City Council’s Infrastructure Committee on Monday approved sending a recommendation to the full city council to award professional services for the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. The item will be placed on the council’s consent agenda next month.

Bohannan Huston, Inc. of Albuquerque was recommended by a confidential evaluation committee following a request for proposals (RFP) process. It was one of four proposals received Dec. 11 according to the Monday meeting’s agenda packet. Councilor Caleb Grant made the motion to place the item on the consent agenda at the next full city council meeting and Councilor Jeanine Corn Best seconded. With their votes and approvals from Chairman Juan Oropesa and Councilor George Peterson, the final vote was 4-0.

The agenda stated the city has $110,000 in capital improvements in the current budget. City Engineer Louis Najar said New Mexico Department of Transportation will be funding 85 percent of the costs, $93,984, as listed in the agenda packet.

Najar said the city “would love to get these two trails going,” along with connecting all corridors and bus transit as part of the Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan. Najar said the RFP drew four proposals with two finalists, who were selected after interviews and scoring by an evaluation committee.

Najar presented the item because the city’s procurement officer, Lupita Everett, was out, and he said the plan for existing and future trail enhancement allows the city to apply for more funding.

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Adding that public input and information from trail users will be sought, Najar said the scope of work provides for a minimum of two public meetings for the master plan for future and existing trails.

Representatives of the Spring River Corridor Foundation (SRCF), Ivan Hall and Bob Edwards, both commented on the proposed master plan. Edwards said the group has been waiting to hear back from the city since the fall and Najar clarified that the city has been looking into the impact to potential development at the Old Municipal Airport (OMA) land in the western region of the city.

Hall said connection of the trails will be important when the Roswell Recreation and Aquatic Center opens, tentatively set for July. He said the foundation assisted in putting up the Robert H. Goddard sculpture outside the Roswell Museum and Art Center and there are other funding opportunities associated with public art.

In working on expanding the trails, Edwards shared three options that have been discussed between the city and the foundation. The options are a $138,000 project at West Eighth Street and North Sycamore Avenue near J. Kenneth Smith Bird Sanctuary at 401 N. Sycamore Ave.; a $118,000 project at West Eighth Street and North Montana Avenue; and another nearly $100,000 project. Edwards said Jim Sexe, a city engineer technician, designed the $138,000 plan.

Grant asked if City Attorney Aaron Holloman was looking into avenues for providing more information related to the RFP process, other than scoring. Najar and Kevin Dillon, the city’s projects and facilities director, explained that according to city policy any councilor could go to the city’s procurement officer and see more information by signing a confidentiality agreement. An option to request a closed session was another way for the councilors to discuss it freely, prior to a contract being signed or a purchase order being finalized, Dillon said.

Hall said the foundation worked with the city for 17 phases of the Spring River Trail to connect the eastern and western sides. He said the current group has some interest because they have been working for the past three years with city engineers and the parks and recreation department to connect the Spring River Trail and the Cielo Grande Trail.

With the foundation’s funds restricted to public arts, Hall said the group helped install the Goddard sculpture and rocket standards at the Roswell Museum & Art Center. Hall said a physical connection would open up the potential for more public art improvements near and at the new rec center.

Connection of the two trails, as listed in Monday’s meeting agenda, was described as starting at Sycamore and the Golf Course using the maintenance entrance to cut across to the OMA taxiway. The minutes of the Sept. 17 Parks and Recreation meeting stated the final vote on this item was 4-0 to approve.

Najar said the idea is for the trail to divert from the Spring River Trail near hole number seven on the golf course. In response to Edwards’ comment, Najar said the city was waiting to hear from property owners in that area and the southwest quadrant of OMA “is still under consideration.” Najar said the city is avoiding putting down materials and money for the trail in case the OMA development plans change and they would have to “scrape up” the connection.

In other news, Edwards said the SRCF proposed buying 10 bicycles to be placed at the Aquatic Center for use by the public as part of a bike rental program. JaneAnn Oldrup, chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission, has acquired helmets to go with the bikes. The minutes of the Sept. 17 Parks and Recreation Commission meeting noted that the committee also approved this, 4-0.

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

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