City awarded grant to help plan future

Tony Parra

Portales has its grant, it has its city planner and tonight the community can help take the next step in coming up with a comprehensive plan for the city’s future.
There will be a town hall meeting open to the public from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight at The Roosevelt restaurant on the square.
There is no cost and there will be food and planning activities.
The state of New Mexico awarded Portales a $25,000 Community Development Block Grant to prepare a comprehensive plan that hopes to provide the city with a blueprint for both short- and long-term goals of development. Portales must match the $25,000 grant 100 percent.
The CDBG grant was awarded to Portales in July of 2003 and the city selected Consensus Planning, Inc. in October of 2003.
The planning was supposed to begin in November, officials said.
“The reason for the delay was because there was an absence of a city manager and a development director to administer the CDBG program,” said Darla Wilhoit, the city’s community development director. “As we get closer to the expiration date there is a probability that we are going to need an extension due to the vacancies.”
The timeframe for creating a comprehensive plan is 12 months and expires on June 30. Wilhoit said they may request a six-month extension.
The Portales City Council approved the contract with Consensus Planning, Inc. at Tuesday night’s meeting.
The mayor appointed a steering committee, which consisted of city officials and community representatives, who reviewed applicants then presented their choice to the city council for approval.
New Mexico officials encourage all municipalities to prepare a comprehensive plan and update it every five years, officials said.
John Valdez, planner with Consensus Planning from Albuquerque, said this will be the first in a series of meetings in the next several months to formulate a vision for the future of Portales.
Items on the agenda include: The increase of dairies locating in the state; retaining Cannon Air Force Base; population growth; and agriculture.
“This plan will be an important tool for the city to use and will provide a good road map to where it wants to go in terms of growth, economic development, recreation, transportation, infrastructure, housing, community services and the overall social fabric of the community,” Valdez said in a press release.
Valdez said Consensus Planning, Inc. has helped Lovington, Deming, San Jon and Tucumcari in developing a comprehensive plan. Valdez said each community is treated differently because of its industries.
“We approach it with a clean slate,” Valdez said. “Each community presents unique issues. Portales has Cannon Air Force Base and the university whereas Lovington didn’t. Lovington has the oil rigs, so each community has different industries.”