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Council to vote on Carpenter Park project

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Juno Ogle Photo The City of Roswell Infrastructure Committee approved on Monday a proposal for improvements at Carpenter Park on East Buena Vista Avenue. Construction of a splash pad and replacing older playground and barbecue equipment are among the proposed changes. The plan will be considered by the full city council at its May 14 meeting.

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Improvements at Carpenter Park on East Buena Vista Avenue including a splash pad will be on the consent agenda for the May meeting of the Roswell City Council, while an offer to split costs with the state on repaving Southeast Main was forwarded to the city Finance Committee.

The Infrastructure Committee voted 3-1 Monday afternoon to award the Carpenter Park splash pad project to Waide Construction Co., 5302 N. Main, for $314,907.

Councilors Jacob Roebuck, Margaret Kennard and Savino Sanchez voted in favor, while Councilor George Peterson voted against.

The bulk of the $450,000 project — $314,907 — will be paid through a state 2019 capital outlay appropriation. The city’s contribution will be $3,936, according to a project status report included with the agenda packet.

The remaining $103,603 will be used for improvements at the park, Abraham Chaparro, solid waste director, said.

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“It’s pretty dark at night. There’s lots of tables, barbecue grills that are non-functional, rusted all the way through, sharp objects,” Chaparro said.

Some of the playground equipment is more than 40 years old, he said.

Peterson asked about the possibility of using the extra funds for a restroom instead. Neither Carpenter Park nor the Murphy Family Splash Pad in Poe Corn Park on South Garden Avenue have access to restrooms.

Chaparro said that was a possibility, but maintenance and upkeep as well as a tendency for restrooms to attract nefarious activity at night can present problems.

“I think using the restroom is pretty important, especially if we have handicapped kids in the park. They’re going to have to load up and go to Allsup’s to use the restroom or go home to use the restroom and go back,” Peterson said.

Committee Chairman Roebuck agreed restrooms are an issue, but said it was important to get the project started.

“It’s an open question we need on all of our parks. Right now we have port-a-potties, which are not my favorite solution,” Roebuck said.

“I would hate to hold this project up because the money is not ours, it’s state money, and we want to move forward with it to make sure it doesn’t get clawed back,” he said.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and legislators have said a special session of the Legislature might be needed to revise the budget in the wake of crashing oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic. That could result in state allocations to local governments being swept back to the state.

The committee also approved another project using the 2019 state capital outlay funds to the full council’s consent agenda. The proposal would award professional design services for a helicopter display and improvements at McBride Veterans Cemetery in the amount of $42,419 to Huitt-Zollars Inc., Albuquerque. No city money will be used for the $516,000 total cost.

The committee voted 4-0 to forward to the finance committee an offer from the New Mexico Department of Transportation to split the cost of repaving Southeast Main.

In an April 2 letter, NMDOT assistant district engineer Francisco Sanchez proposed using $389,510 in excess fiscal year 2020 funds to repave Southeast Main from Poe to McGaffey. The city’s 25% share of the $520,148 project would be $130,638.

“Normally this would be an easy thing, especially with a 75-25 (split). Engineering does understand we have budget and economic worries right now,” City Engineer Louis Najar said.

The street has been a “pothole nightmare,” Najar said, and the engineering department has been asking NMDOT for assistance for a couple of years.

The project would use a thin pavement mill with Brasier Nova Chip overlay, similar to what was done on South Main recently. That could give the road another five to 10 years of use, Najar said.

If the city does not join in the project, NMDOT will likely consider repaving Southeast Main from McGaffey to Hobbs. The project would likely start in late May. That timeline should still work with the the proposal going to the Finance Committee and then the May 14 City Council meeting, Najar said.

“They understand the decision has to be the full council,” he said.

“It seems like such a good deal, but I really feel like it’s not something we can make that decision without putting it in front of finance,” Kennard said.

Roebuck agreed it’s a high priority project but had reservations about the cost considering the city is facing budget cuts due to the economy. However, he voted with the other committee members to send the request to the Finance Committee.

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