Ute Lake Ranch draws fire locally

By Tonya Garner

Officials representing Clovis and Portales voiced their concerns regarding the Ute Lake Ranch project Wednesday during the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission meeting.

The Ute Lake Ranch project is under construction near Tucumcari and will feature 733 patio homes, a golf course, marina, equestrian center and a beach club built around Ute Lake.

Clovis Mayor David Lansford, who also is chairman of the area water authority board, began his address to the commission by saying the city of Clovis is “in favor of economic growth” and considers Tucumcari a “friend and neighbor.”

But as a proponent of the Ute Water Pipeline Project — which would carry water from Ute Lake to Clovis and Portales — Lansford said he is concerned about water quality being adversely affected by the large amount of boat traffic the development would bring to the lake.

“I’m a boat owner so I know the fossil fuels released into the water can’t be good,” Lansford said, “and where there are people there is waste.”

Portales Mayor Orlando Ortega told the ISC he echoed “everything Lansford said.” Ortega, co-chairman on the water authority board, said he wants the water in Ute Reservoir to be protected because it will be the water citizens are drinking.

“We know the quality of the water today,” Ortega said, “but we don’t know how it will be after this development is completed.”

Since the ISC owns the reservoir, it could set guidelines and rules for its use, Ortega said. Wednesday’s meeting, however, was chiefly pre-cautionary, an outlet for discussion among all parties involved, the Portales mayor said.

While Clovis and Portales officials are wary of the Ute Lake Ranch project, Quay County officials expressed their support.

Quay County Manager Terry Turner said the project represents revenue to Quay County.

“This project has already brought in $54,000 in tax revenue,” Turner said. “I can’t stress enough how important this project is to Quay Çounty.”

He said each lot represents between $1,300 and $1,600 per year in revenue.

Tucumcari Mayor Mary Mayfield also spoke in support of the project calling it “Tucumcari’s shining glory.” She concluded by saying she appreciates the park and would like to see it maintained. “I’m solid behind this project,” Mayfield said.