City in 2021 saw progress in infrastructure and difficulty with trails

Crushed asphalt dumps into a trailer as a pavement repair project begins October 12 on East College Boulevard between North Main Street and North Atkinson Avenue. The $ 400,000 project was shared between the city of Roswell and the New Mexico Department of Transportation. (Photo of daily recording file)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Infrastructure projects came to the fore in Roswell in 2021, with the city allocating $ 9 million in its 2021-2022 fiscal year budget for street works. The city also completed the accelerated construction of a new landfill cell.

Several major street projects were carried out throughout the year, with one of the largest on North Atkinson Avenue continuing through the spring.

The $ 1.4 million project, which began in October, replaces pavement to an 18-inch depth, repairs curbs, gutters and ramps, and adds sidewalks from East Second Street to Cherry Street. The New Mexico Department of Transportation funded $ 1 million for the project through a statewide bidding process.

Carried out in several phases, the project is expected to be completed in April.

The most recently completed project is the bridge near the intersection of South Lea Avenue and West Deming Street. The $ 1.2 million project replaced the original bridge built in 1938. Originally slated for completion in late September, work was delayed by heavy rains from late May through July.

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The New Mexico legislature has allocated $ 800,000 for the project, with the city paying the remainder.

Also among the biggest street projects were repaving projects on East College Boulevard for $ 400,000 and South Washington Avenue. The Washington repaving is part of a $ 2.2 million project that also involves North Garden Avenue and Sunset Avenue.

The North Garden phase has started but is delayed due to the discovery of failures in a sewer line which will need to be replaced. The Sunset Avenue phase of the project will begin in 2022.

The city council, in approving the street department’s budget, set aside $ 500,000 for the resurfacing of streets in the neighborhood. Work is not expected to begin until March, but projects worth $ 100,000 have been identified in each of the city’s five neighborhoods for resurfacing.

One of the biggest projects completed in 2021 was the construction of a new 20-acre landfill cell, which was ramped up when the city learned in February that the cell currently in use was filling at a faster rate than foreseen. A topographic survey indicated that the cell would reach its maximum capacity in July.

The purchase of a new heavy compactor, the use of GPS mapping systems and some engineering work extended the life of this cell by several months, which proved to be beneficial as the heavy rains late spring and early summer delayed construction of the new cell.

The city has seen other changes, such as purchasing and equipping 10 new police vehicles, declining days off for city employees due to better than expected incomes during the pandemic, the passing ordinances regulating the sale and production of cannabis and taking over the management of the UFO Festival, the Nancy Lopez Golf Course in Spring River and the Roswell Convention Center rather than using contract managers.

The city has faced some issues, including what Councilor Jacob Roebuck called a “big failure for the city” when a transition to new utility billing software resulted in incorrect and delayed bills for customers. .

The new software went live in December 2020 after being tested earlier in the year, but encountered unforeseen issues. As city staff attempted to manually troubleshoot issues and include material explaining the issues in invoices, this resulted in delays in billing cycles that snowballed into March and beyond.

The city also made several attempts during the year to link the Spring River Trail with the trails in the Cielo Grande Recreation Area. The city and the Spring River Corridor Foundation have been working to connect the trails for about four years and have not been able to do so until 2022.

A proposal to use the driveway between Wyoming Avenue and the golf course was dropped but reconsidered in various variations, including building the connection to the golf course grounds. Wyoming Avenue landowners had raised concerns about the loss of privacy and access to their property through the lane.

A plan to use Mississippi Avenue appeared to be on the verge of establishing the connection after council approved the concept in September. However, in October, a necessary step to designate the west side of the street as a no-parking zone met resistance from residents, convincing enough council members to vote against, thus ending that option.

Two other options are still possible but are not currently being studied. One would build a trail from the southwest portion of the Cielo Grande Trail along an old runway from the old municipal airport west to Sycamore Avenue and connect to the Sanctuary Trail. Birds J. Kenneth Smith, which connects to the Spring River Trail. A second option would follow the same trail for a shorter distance, then cross West Eighth Street to continue on the south side of the street along the golf course to the bird sanctuary.

The city has applied for funding through the New Mexico Department of Transportation to fund either of these options. If approved, the money would be available in fiscal year 2023.

The Roswell Adult Center saw a drop in use when several organizations said in June that they could no longer meet there due to the rental rate hike the city imposed earlier this year. . The new rates were created as part of the City’s cost recovery plan for the Recreation Department. The Adult Center is expected to generate half of its annual operating costs of approximately $ 212,000.

The Pecos Valley Quilters said in June that they would not be able to afford the $ 40 an hour rate for the room they had met in for 35 years, but were then able to negotiate usage until at the end of the year, because they had paid their prior approval. annual rate of $ 500 for the year. Under the new rates, the group would have paid more than $ 14,500 per year.

The Roswell Astronomy Club and dance groups have also researched new hangouts, citing the higher rates.

In August, with the centre’s staff reduced to two, the city reduced the opening hours of the adult center to one day a week, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays. These hours remained in place at the end of the year and into 2022.

The city, however, said it was determined to keep the adult center open. Among the proposals on the city’s main list of projects submitted to the New Mexico legislature for possible appropriation in the infrastructure improvement plan is $ 235,000 for improvements to the adult center.

City / RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or [email protected]

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