City plans to buy downtown property

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

Portales city councilors gave approval Tuesday to a proposal allowing Portales MainStreet to purchase several properties downtown to aid in redevelopment of the historic Yam Theater.

Council gave the OK for MainStreet to use $100,000 to purchase five properties on South Main in Portales. The properties include the two buildings on each side of the theater and three other storefronts in the area city officials and MainStreet consider blighted, according to minutes of the MainStreet association.

The two adjacent properties will be used directly in the redevelopment of the Yam, providing extra space for the facility, which is currently in the design phase. The other properties would be redeveloped and made available for economic development opportunities.

“Basically our architect let us know we needed a little more additional room,” MainStreet President Danny Woodward said.

TK Architects, the company doing the preliminary designs has told the association that additional space for a kitchen, restrooms, concession area and storage are desperately needed if the development is to succeed, say association officials.

“The big thing is to have more room for it to be a true multipurpose facility, said MainStreet board member Greg Erf, who heads the Yam committee.

The money for the purchase of the properties will come from the city’s economic development fund which city officials say currently has a balance of $427,970. It is driven by an 1/8 cent gross receipts tax passed by voters in 2002.

The Yam redevelopment is being driven by nearly $725,000 in state and federal grants. According to officials construction could start this spring with completion by the end of 2007.

Councilor Diane Parker praised the MainStreet association for their work on the Yam and other projects.

“Without you all this wouldn’t be happening. It’s like a domino effect,” Parker said. “Slowly I think we can see our community getting this domino effect (on economic development).

In other business city council:

• Passed a resolution encouraging citizens to conserve water.

• OK’d a request for proposal for geographic information systems (GIS) services for the 2006 Community Development Block Grant.

• Passed a resolution revising the city’s investment policy.

• Passed a resolution ratifying a joint powers agreement between the city, New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority and Unidev to undertake a study on an affordable housing project.

• Passed a resolution allowing airport officials to accept a matching grant for $6,625 from the New Mexico Aviation Division for lighting, herbicides and mowing equipment.

• Held a public hearing on an ordinance authorizing the issuance of $80 million in industrial revenue bonds to DairiConcepts for plant expansion. The city has issued bonds for the plant at three other times in its history. Legal opinions handed out to councilors at the meeting said the city would not be liable for the debt and faced low risk in issuing the bonds for economic development purposes.

• Passed a resolution declaring intent to issue industrial revenue bonds for DairiConcepts.