Parks director says there is ‘no drama’ with the rec center opening
The opening of the Roswell Recreation & Aquatic Center, a softball netting purchase order and a potential bike rental program were all discussed as nonaction items, meaning no formal votes were taken, at the city of Roswell’s General Services Committee on Wednesday afternoon.
Committee members and city councilors Savino Sanchez, Angela Moore and Juan Oropesa were present on Wednesday with Councilor Jacob Roebuck being absent.
“I’m excited about it,” Sanchez said and thanked those involved with developing the rec center. “We’ve had a long journey with this rec center, aquatic center. We had a lot of pushback on it. And we just fought through and now our children have a brand new facility that they can be proud of — and be able to utilize and remember that they’re in a new facility, nice facility …”
Marcus Gallegos is the city of Roswell’s new recreation manager as of May 28 and he introduced himself at the meeting on Wednesday. “A life-long New Mexican,” Gallegos is from Los Lunas and he worked at the University of New Mexico in recreation, administration and development work. He said his wife, who will be a teacher at El Capitan Elementary School, and three of his four sons will be moving to Roswell soon.
“I just see people there every single day utilizing it, getting healthy, enjoying each other, enjoying the community, enjoying their new rec center — that’s really what I see, just everybody using it as much as possible,” Gallegos said about his vision for the rec center.
Gallegos and Jim Burress, director of Parks and Recreation, said the rec center, 1402 W. College Blvd., is ready for Saturday with minor adjustments. Burress said the opening is early, which was tentatively set for July 1, and on budget with “no drama.” Burress commended Kevin Dillon, project and facilities director, for his design that involved “little rework” and the contractors for their work.
In a follow-up interview, Gallegos said total capacity for the indoor and outdoor pool is 438 for people in the water.
Use of the rec center’s restroom facilities was also discussed. Sanchez said he was against the public using the rec center restrooms. Burress maintained that members or paying customers can use the facilities and there are port-a-potties around the Cielo Grande Recreation Area. There are port-a-potties at the skate park, behind near a building used by the Roswell Police Department, by the playground and three more around the track, for a total of six.
Oropesa asked if the city owned the port-a-potties or if they were contracted out and Burress said the city rents them. During public participation, Rita Kane-Doerhoefer apologized for laughing when the overturned port-a-potty at the skate park was discussed and said Burress took care of the situation.
Kane-Doerhoefer also asked for clarification about the cost to attend the rec center opening on Saturday. Gallegos clarified that the tours and ceremony at 10 a.m. were free to the public, but if citizens wanted to use the pool or the rec facilities, the daily fees or membership would apply.
Softball and baseball
Finance Director Monica Garcia shared information about the purchase order that did not go through for the $4,500 engineering design for the netting at the Charlie McVay Memorial Softball Complex on East 19th Street and North Garden Avenue. Garcia said the Tyler software will “go live” on July 1 and a mistake like that would not happen again with the new technology.
Dillon said the design should be done in about three weeks, according to the contractor. Sanchez asked if the netting would be completed by April for the next softball season and Dillon said there would have to be factors to understand, such as demand on a contractor, before an end date could be determined.
Oropesa and Sanchez asked what was to be done about the Eastside Little League. Sanchez said he would like to see a league or at least practice fields on that side of town. Burress said the memorandum of understandings with the local leagues would be the Parks and Recreation department’s next priority after the rec center is running with more procedures and policies in place.
Gallegos said the city has been looking into Ruidoso’s rideshare program to see if such a program is “viable” for the city. In the fall, Spring River Corridor Foundation announced their intentions to donate 10 beach cruisers and helmets at a General Services Committee meeting.
Burress said more research is needed regarding insurance and liability and he estimated the city may have an answer in a couple of months. Mike Mathews, deputy city manager, said Ruidoso also created maps and gave more information on the trails, which the city would need to do before implementing a program.
“There’s more than just taking a donation and starting a program,” Mathews said. “It all sounds nice, but there’s a lot of work that needs to go into (it). In defense of these guys, when Marcus came in … this was his focus, was this coming Saturday to make sure our facility opens up with the best possible way it could. That was our number one priority …”
Parker Patterson, deputy city attorney, said the Ruidoso agreement included liability releases, but such releases are “bulletproof vest(s) for litigation purposes.”
Oropesa asked if Parks and Recreation will be separated into two departments and Mathews said it is a consideration at this point.
City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at email@example.com.