Home News Local News Council greenlights two ‘quality of life’ programs

Council greenlights two ‘quality of life’ programs

Enid Costley, director of the Roswell Public Library, has said the new mobile library would have a “tremendous” effect by serving children who participate in the summer food program or others known to have difficulty getting to the library building. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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A new mobile library program and a bike rental pilot program for the Cielo Grande Recreation Area were approved Thursday by the Roswell City Council.

Both measures passed 8-0, with two councilors absent during the voting for those items.

The bike rental program is due to start at Cielo Grande in May and run until October, at which time the city will review how it is serving residents and visitors and whether the city’s Recreation Department should continue operating it as it is now conceptualized.

The Spring River Corridor Foundation brought the idea to the city in 2018. The nonprofit was formed in 1987, and it works to enhance what is now called the Spring River Trail, a 4.8 mile stretch of bike and walking paths that run from the Spring River Zoo area near North Atkinson Avenue to the Enchanted Lands Park on North Sycamore Avenue.

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The group will donate 10 adult and children’s bikes, as well as helmets. It also will pay for up to two years of maintenance on the bikes, according to one of its board members, Bob Edwards.

Bikes and helmets will be rented at the Roswell Recreation and Aquatic Center on West College Boulevard, which is part of the Cielo Grande area.

Renters must be at least 18 years old, and children must be accompanied by adults. Renters will need to provide a driver’s license, a credit card and sign a rental agreement and a waiver.

Bikers are allowed to ride only along the sidewalks and established trails of the Cielo Grande area and cannot cross or enter streets. Charges will be $5 for the first hour and $2 for each additional hour, with late fees charged when applicable.

City Attorney Aaron Holloman and Recreation Director Marcus Gallegos said the city’s insurance provider has reviewed the program and agreed to add it to the city’s policy for $500 a year.

Edwards said that the Spring River Corridor group has other plans for the area.

“We did also, as a companion piece to this, suggested that Cielo Grande and Spring River Corridor be joined through the area down there by the bird sanctuary,” he said. “Our constitution, if you will, only allows us to do work on the Spring River Corridor. We are interested in doing work in front of the new aquatic center, with some statuary and things like that. But, unfortunately, until those two trails join, we are limited in helping with community projects along those lines. So, if you would consider that down the road, we would appreciate it.”

Enid Costley, director of the Roswell Public Library, has said that she plans for the mobile library program — or bookmobile — to be implemented by late August.

The city does not have a similar program now. The Friends of the Library has a “books on wheels” program, but volunteers deliver books using their own vehicles. The mobile library would be considered similar to a branch library.

The City Council approval gave the library the authorization to use general obligation bond funds to purchase and equip a small van. The bonds were approved by statewide voters for public and school libraries in 2016 and 2018.

The van would travel to spots and events in Roswell used by people known to have challenges arranging for transportation to the library building on North Pennsylvania Avenue. Target populations include senior citizens, who could be reached at area nursing homes or senior service centers; people in detention or rehabilitation centers; and youth who gather at summer food program sites, community events or daycares.

The small delivery-type van will be equipped with book carts so that the carts can be rolled out to a folding table and underneath an awning to serve clients. Books will be checked out, and internet service also is expected to be provided.

The cost of the van, a generator, an internet hotspot and other needed equipment is estimated at about $80,000 to $85,000. The library has about $148,000 in 2016 and 2018 bond money available, Costley said.

The library’s existing operational funding will be used to cover insurance, fuel and a cellphone for staff. Costley added that a staff position vacated when an employee resigned has been held open so that the library can hire an outreach librarian to run the mobile library program.

The council also took several other actions during the meeting.

• It voted 8-1 to approve a new beer and wine license for Eli’s Bistro & Bakery at 3109 N. Main St. The license permits on-premise consumption only. Councilor Angela Moore cast the sole dissenting vote. Councilor Savino Sanchez was absent.

• The council passed the consent agenda that contained 13 items. By approving the consent agenda, all items passed without discussion.

The measures included three lease renewals at the Roswell Air Center; authorization for the city to remove or demolish five structures within the city limits; and approval for the Pecos Trails Transit System to buy two buses that can hold up to 24 passengers. The bus service will pay 20% of the $245,050 purchase cost, or $49,010, while federal funds administered by a New Mexico Department of Transportation program will cover the remaining 80% of the costs.

The consent agenda also included three contracts and an item that gives the city the right to seek bidders for a second time on the Roswell Test Facility — a former federal water treatment plant on East Second Street. One contract to RT Electric Inc. of Las Cruces will pay for the replacement of the traffic signal light at North Main Street and Country Club Road. Two others — $653,279 to D.E. Rice Construction Co. Inc. and $72,763 to Souder, Miller & Associates — involve the closure of part of the city landfill.

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.