City council aids hotel project

By Tony Parra

Mayor Orlando Ortega and city councilors approved a contract to purchase two parking lots from the Roosevelt County Rural Telephone Cooperative Inc. as part of an incentive for the remodeling and reopening of the Portales Inn.
Steve Nishimuta, a prospective contractor of San Diego, Calif., is in the process of renovating the Portales Inn and having a restaurant on the bottom floor for when it opens. One of the parking lots is at the corner of Ave. B and Second St. and the other at the corner of Ave. A and Third St.
The lots were purchased for $78,000. Ortega said the city will own the parking lots and make improvements to them.
In other business at Tuesday’s meeting,
— Council members held a public hearing in regards to authorizing the issuance and sale of a city bond in the maximum principal amount of $15 million to provide funds to finance the acquisition and equipping of a industrial revenue project in the expansion of the Abengoa Bioenergy Corporation plant in Portales.
Ortega and city councilors approved the ordinance to consider the adoption authorizing the issuance of bonds.
“I encourage the city to follow through with the issuance,” Tony Prehm, Abengoa Bioenergy plant manager, said. “This is a good agreement for the city and (the) Abengoa corporation.”

— Darla Wilhoit, economic development director, was able to get an extension on a comprehensive planning grant. The extension pushed the deadline from Dec. 31 to Feb. 15.
Consensus Planning of Albuquerque is currently working on a plan for the future of Portales, including economic development, planning and zoning, and a possible truck by-pass and bike trail.
The city contracted with Consensus Planning in October 2003 for $50,000 to create a plan outlining goals for the future of the city.
Wilhoit said after talking with Ken Hughes, chief planner for New Mexico’s Department of Finance and Administration, he requested more public input before Consensus Planning finalized the plan.
Wilhoit said city officials have met with the Kiwanis Club and a 12-member steering committee to discuss the plan. She said city officials will meet with members of the Altrusa Club, Lions Club and Rotary Club in January to fill the requirement of public input.