Portales receives grant

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

The city of Portales and town of Elida got good news about infrastructure improvements Tuesday as the New Mexico Community Development Council announced its grant awards for 2007.

Portales received $455,837 for street improvements in the area from First to Canadian streets and from Boston to Chicago avenues. With the city’s match, along with a $100,000 legislative appropriation the total project is $618,287.

“The good news is these folks (this neighborhood) tried to do a CDBG a few years ago and failed,” Portales City Manager Debi Lee said. “So we’re really happy about that.”

The project will install curb and gutter, improving drainage and new pavement will replace the chip seal pavement that has passed its 20-year lifespan. The project will also replace a failing sewer line in the area.

Lee said the city received its last CDBG in 2005. That money went into a street project in north Portales.

The city manager said the design and engineering work for the project is complete and as soon as the grant agreement arrives in early June the project will be ready to bid. That means a contractor could be in place by July with work beginning in late summer. Lee is hopeful the project can be completed within 90 to 120 days, which would allow the city to apply on the next cycle of CDBG for more street improvements.

The city also learned this week the State Transportation Department had received $355,000 to do repair work on U.S. 70 through Portales. That thoroughfare has been plagued by potholes after a cold, wet winter.
According to Director of Public Works Tom Howell, the state will use a scarification process in which asphalt will be removed, reheated

and laid back down on the roadway. He said it was his understanding that the contractor would just be repairing the worst sections of the road in that manner.

Lee said the repairs are just a temporary fix, but desperately needed.

“We’re just trying to buy time until 2011 (the date the state is scheduled to replace the road), Lee said.

Roosevelt County was also successful in the CDBG process, winning approval for a project that will replace the Elida Municipal water tower and pumping system.

The $395,140 grant is the first one since 2003 for the county and only the second CDBG ever for that entity, according to County Manager Charlene Hardin.

“The town of Elida was at a critical stage with their water system,” Hardin said. “Because of the thresholds (for acceptance in the grant program) they came to us.”

Hardin said Pat Willis, from the county administrator’s office, worked with Elida town clerk Sandra Monks to write the grant.