City approves skatepark site near Recreation Center

Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

Portales city councilors approved the north side of the Portales Recreation Center as the new location for the Portales Skatepark during Tuesday’s city council meeting.
“We would like to see the park moved from it’s location,” Mary Carvey, a member of the Portales Skatepark Organization, said. “We want to completely remove the skate park from Rotary (Park).”

City councilors unanimously approved having the skate park moved from Rotary Park to the parking lot at the Portales Recreation Center. Carvey and other PSO members have been meeting with the City of Portales Recreation Board members. PSO members have presented designs and costs to recreation board members.

City of Portales officials have listed a $25,000 request for the skate park project in the capital outlay session of the 2006 legislature. PSO members have also been raising money. Many of them are children and teens helping with the fundraisers.

“They’ve (teens) been working hard to raise money,” Carvey said. “We’ve raised between $3,000 and $3,500.”

PSO members put together a cost estimate of $50,000 for a new 14,400 square-foot area park on the north part of the Portales Recreation Center parking lot. The skate park at Rotary Park would not be removed until the new one is constructed.

• Portales city councilors approved a package of needs for the 2006 capital outlay requests, listing street improvements and garbage trucks as critical needs.

City councilors approved a package which would request $3.5 million for street improvements, $600,000 for two garbage trucks and a sewer rodder truck, $605,000 for roof repairs to city buildings and an animal shelter upgrade.

Some of the other priorities are $250,000 for wastewater plant sludge removal and $310,000 for the city swimming pool. There were other requests listed, such as park and downtown improvements bringing the total to $6.73 million in requests for the 2006 legislative session.

“The garbage trucks are outdated,” Debi Lee, city manager, said. “Roofs are leaky. The Memorial Building and Portales Library are the top two needs. We can’t afford to go without a swimming pool for the kids.”

The city has 1986 and 1987 model garbage trucks and the sewer rodder is a 1971 model. Tom Howell, Portales public works director, said a change in environmental codes will require upgrading filters, pumps, water heaters and surfaces around the pool.

• City councilors recommended the item of the municipal judge’s salary be placed through the finance committee before it comes up for a vote to the city councilors. Fred Arnold, municipal judge, is requesting a pay increase from $15,000 a year to $25,000 a year.

Arnold said approximately four years ago the finance committee approved a salary increase from $15,000 to $18,000 but was never approved by city councilors. Arnold said the $25,000 would be comparable to the salary of someone in the same judicial position in Artesia, a similar-sized town.

The next finance committee meeting will take place on Jan. 3, followed by the city council meeting later that evening. If approved, the salary increase would take effect after the March 7 election, when Arnold is either re-elected or a new judge is elected.

l Mayor Orlando Ortega recognized The Portales High School marching band and band director Brandon Boerio for their success at the Southeastern New Mexico Music Educators Association District Marching Band Festival in October.

Boerio said it was the first time in at least six years the PHS band received a superior rating.