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Committees discuss streets and sidewalks

From left, City Engineer Louis Najar explains some of the findings in the street survey to Roswell City Council’s Infrastructure Committee on Tuesday afternoon. Pictured are Councilors Jeanine Corn Best, Caleb Grant and Juan Oropesa. (Alison Penn Photo)

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Over the last week or so, the city of Roswell has been assessing the care of streets — now that the survey is complete — and continued a discussion on responsibility of sidewalks.

A first draft of the street inventory and pavement rehabilitation report was presented by City Engineer Louis Najar to the Infrastructure Committee. Najar said the committee will see a full presentation from Infrastructure Management Services next month.

In addition to discussing this item, City Councilors Juan Oropesa, committee chair; Vice Chair George Peterson and members Caleb Grant and Jeanine Corn Best were present and approved three action items unanimously.


According to the document, the company recommended a plan of $5 million a year minimum on streets with $16.8 million being the ideal for appropriate road care, Najar said. He added that the city usually spends about $8 million on roads annually.

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Some of the prioritized list items on the document were 27th Street from North Montana Avenue to Gaye Drive, the area on North Atkinson Avenue from East Sky Loop to Jenny Lane, eight various sections of West Eyeman Street, North Plains Park Drive from South Union Avenue to Western Avenue, Purdy Place from Orange Street to the north end, a section of Second Street and North Atkinson, and sections of West McGaffey Street.

“… The streets, kind of like our pipelines, need a lot of attention,” Najar said. “Our infrastructure needs a lot of attention.”

Najar presented updates on the Edgewood Project saying it would be moving on to the next phase on Third and Garden around Labor Day. He showed images of the cracked and leaking waterline — which broke on July 9 — and said he would not be surprised if something similar happens as the project moves along.

When Best asked if the city had any record of who installed the original waterlines in the late ‘60s, or a warranty, Najar said there was neither a record nor a warranty.

Najar also said work on Sycamore Avenue was complete before school and Grant relayed a compliment from a nearby property owner that they were pleased with the city’s work and coordination with them during the project. Oropesa also thanked the staff on behalf of a constituent, who commended the engineering team for their work on South Atkinson.

Najar also gave a recommendation from the engineering department that the city should request funds for a bridge and a street on the Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan (ICIP), where the state looks over the top five projects to potentially fund. He said the list is due to the state on Sept. 6.

As action items, the committee voted to approve consideration of micro-sealing for residential streets, moved forward with a loan application for the wastewater treatment plan and awarded a bid for water reservoirs at the Roswell International Air Center.


The city’s legal committee met on Thursday where sidewalks and ownership for maintenance was also discussed. City Councilor Judy Stubbs, legal committee chair, said the discussion item originated from Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh.

Kintigh said sidewalk maintenance is “an issue we need to consciously discuss and hopefully reach a resolution” for public thoroughfares. Saying property owners may not have adequate resources and that the sidewalks are a financial prioritization matter, he said the city should take responsibility for replacing broken sidewalks and property owners should keep their sidewalks clear from anything obstructing foot traffic.

City Attorney Aaron Holloman presented what other municipalities in New Mexico do to handle sidewalks and he reviewed some of the topics for each, including how it was written in ordinance for “who builds the sidewalks, who maintains the sidewalks, who has to enforce the conditions of sidewalks or develops those standards and the who bears the liability. …”

Holloman reminded the committee that the state statutes give cities the ability to regulate, construct and build sidewalks. He looked at ordinances from Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Alamogordo, Clovis, Hobbs, Farmington and Las Cruces.

Holloman described Las Cruces as “an outlier” in his research of other sidewalk management. He said Las Cruces has a required annual review of sidewalks and submits a proposal for the city to make repairs and allocate funding in the budget.

Also in Las Cruces, he said liability is placed on the owner when the owner causes damage to the sidewalks, otherwise, the liability falls on the city. Councilor Peterson said he liked some of Las Cruces’ approach and that Carlsbad has a five-man crew responsible for sidewalks, who focuses first near schools and busy walking paths.

Some “holes” in Roswell’s ordinance that Holloman addressed were that there is nothing written for constructions on vacant properties and explicit provisions adopting a state statute, where the governing body can require sidewalks to be repaired, maintained or built via a resolution.

Najar said he uses $200,000 a year for various sidewalk projects as needed. Holloman said code enforcement estimated that replacing the 50-foot frontage of a sidewalk would be $4,000 and $12,000 for 150-foot corner lots, without costs for ADA accessibility. Najar said this costs around $10,000 for the corners.

Some of the committee members and city staff also voiced concerns about the cost of sidewalks for the city and property owners.

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