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City considers buying property near zoo

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The city wants to purchase some property on North Atkinson Avenue adjacent to the Spring River Zoo, and the Roswell City Council Legal Committee is scheduled to discuss the potential deal during its meeting today.

Britt Bourque of Roswell said she has owned the multi-unit residential property since about 2007. The property of about 1.24 acres has five residences on it, with four furnished structures that have functioned as short-term rental properties and are part of Cozy Cowboy Rentals. The street address is 1101 N. Atkinson Ave.

“I was going to develop it for weddings and other events,” Bourque said, explaining that she has renovated the interior of many of the five buildings. Work has included new roofs, upgrading fireplaces, raising and installing new flooring in one unit, installing new electrical wiring and putting in washer and dryer connections. The property also has its own well and pump to use for irrigating the lawn, she said.

Her plans to use the site as an events venue with an office, a commercial kitchen and living units were approved by the city of Roswell Planning and Zoning Commission in May 2017. The group voted for her rezoning request and granted a special use permit.

She said that Roswell Parks Director Jim Burress approached her as the city was doing its ongoing work to drain, clean and upgrade the pond on the zoo property and asked her whether she would be willing to sell. The city does not know at this time when the pond project will be completed. Bourque’s property is located just to the south of the pond area.

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“I would be happy for the city to have it,” Bourque said about her parcel. “It is a beautiful piece of property and could be used in so many ways.”

The city made an offer of $415,000 for the property after completing an appraisal.

“There have been some preliminary discussions about maintaining the housing as rentals for police, fire or nurses, in the short-term,” said Todd Verciglio, property technician with the Community Development Division of the city of Roswell.

He said that eventually the city might want to develop the site into an event center for the zoo and its adjacent park.

According to a draft sales and purchase agreement, if the Roswell City Council approves the deal, the city will have 30 days for inspection and would expect to finish the transaction by April 1.

The Legal Committee is scheduled to meet today at 4 p.m. in Meeting Room A of the Roswell Convention & Civic Center, 912 N. Main St. Due to the pandemic and crowd-size restrictions, the city encourages people to participate through the GoToMeeting online meeting applications or to watch the livestreamed video on the city’s website, www.roswell-nm.gov. Information about the GoToMeeting connections is available on the Legal Committee meeting agenda, which is posted on the city website.

The earliest meeting at which the Roswell City Council could consider the purchase agreement would be Feb. 11.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.