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Forum discussion focuses on upcoming development

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Roswell will soon see more development in both the business and residential sectors, city officials said during the third virtual public forum Thursday evening.

The forum was livestreamed on the city’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and is still available to view on both platforms. Its focus was on Ward 4 in the south-central part of the city, but was open to questions on any city-related topic.

Panelists for the forum were City Councilor Savino Sanchez, who represents Ward 4, Alison Herring, operations coordinator for the Pecos Valley Communications Center, City Engineer Louis Najar, and Community Development Director Kevin Maevers. City Manager Joe Neeb led the forum.

Near the end of the 45-minute long program, a Facebook viewer asked if any manufacturing businesses might be coming to town. Neeb said the public will soon see one such development at Southeast Main Street and Brasher Road.

“I will tell you that on the corner of Southeast Main and Brasher within the next 30 to 60 days, you will see that property on that corner have some construction on it,” he said.

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“I won’t talk about what they are because we’re sworn to secrecy. We’re not allowed to talk about who they are until they’re ready to talk about it,” Neeb said.

He referred to the construction as a business expansion that will bring additional jobs.

“We want to see more development out on Brasher. We’ve had tire kickers that have been looking at that,” he said.

Maevers said there is activity all over town addressing housing needs.

“We have got projects from the very large executive-type homes down to and including workforce housing and across the board. You’re going to be seeing a lot of activity especially in the housing sector over the next few months,” he said.

Maevers said the south half of town is mostly seeing “adaptive reuse,” when a structure needs only minor modification for a new business.

Neeb said one of the biggest expenses in adaptive reuse is installing fire suppression equipment and complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The city has partnered with the Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corporation for a program to help businesses with those expenses, with the city council providing $150,000 in seed money.

“I think we’ll be talking about trying to put some more money into that because of how COVID hit us so hard, we want to try to make sure that anybody can get back on their feet, get back out there, doing what they need to be doing, making their living, making the services for the city so that we have a place we can live and be proud of,” Neeb said.

In response to another question about creating more activities for teens, Neeb mentioned the Roswell Recreation and Aquatic Center gyms as well as businesses offering laser tag and virtual reality.

“We have room for more. We have the new splash pad going in at Carpenter Park,” he said.

Sports activities for all ages are returning, and Neeb and Najar talked about the proposed baseball fields for Cielo Grande Recreation Area.

Plans call for an eight-field baseball complex, Najar said.

“In essence what it would do would be the playing fields for the two Little Leagues that we have here in town,” he said.

Najar also said the Boys and Girls Club will be moving back into its facility at the end of the month.

The city has been renovating the building on South Garden Avenue leased to the organization and installed a new gym floor and new lighting and repainted inside.

“They plan to have new programs. The Boys and Girls Club will hopefully become a player again for the youth,” Najar said.

Other topics discussed during the forum included the hiring of dispatchers for the Pecos Valley Regional Communications Center, street projects, increasing voter turnout and the U.S. Census.

The next public forum will be at 5:30 p.m. May 20 and will focus on streets and the road improvement project plan.

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

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