Community talks golf, truck stop

Tony Parra

The development of a truck stop and golf course are two of the objectives local residents at the economic development forum follow-up on Thursday determined to be important goals for the community.
The truck stop idea was brought up during the first economic forum on Oct. 2 because U.S. Highway 70 is now four lanes and there is an absence of a truck stop for 120 miles between Roswell and Clovis. Over 60 members developed ideas for each area of concern during the original economic development forum. The truck stop would also accommodate Eastern New Mexico University students and people looking for a place to eat late at night and early in the morning.
Members narrowed down the objectives to specify what direction they will go and the capabilities of the community to bring in new businesses. Kim Huffman, executive director of Roosevelt County Community Development Corporation, talked about the progress the community has had in searching for a new hotel in Portales and about the movement of the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce to the downtown area.
“It (chamber of commerce) will be a more convenient location,” Huffman said. “We will have two computer labs for job training and we are looking to have it completed by May. I’m looking forward to that.”
Area business owners and city officials were among 18 residents in attendance. Some 60 people attended the first forum on Oct. 2.
Bill Ruisbeck, a retired glass contractor, suggested that Portales develop into a city of tourism, making it a “hot spot” for people looking to retire. Officials agreed this would be a long-term goal.
“Portales could attract people from Illinois, Ohio and the Midwest from the cold weather,” Ruisbeck said. “The climate should be used as a way to attract people and businesses who bring in money to the community.”
The officials were divided into groups and discussed in what direction they wanted the city to go. The three groups focused on tourism, ENMU, health care and a truck stop. The truck stop was labeled as one of the short-term projects.
Roosevelt County commissioner Dennis Lopez also attended the forum and tried to get a perspective on how the officials felt over the beer and wine issue which will could voted on in March.
Lopez said he took an informal survey of ENMU students, who he says are in favor beer and wine licenses.
Most of the officials agreed that if Portales is serious about economic development, then community members should vote “yes” on allowing the beer and wine licenses for local restaurants.
In a Nov. 5 article, Portales Mayor Orlando Ortega stressed that it would be good for economic development. Beer and wine licenses are different from liquor licenses because they only allow restaurants to serve a maximum of three drinks, Lopez said.
Officials also suggested working in cooperation with Clovis officials to learn how Clovis managed to expand and progress in its economic development.