Meeting will iron out plans for square

By Thomas Garcia PNT Staff Writer

A technical meeting will be held on Monday addressing concerns raised by county and city officials about the design of the Downtown Master Plan.
The purpose of the master plan design is to promote tourism and new business to the downtown square.

The cornerstones of the plan include balancing the traffic for the pedestrian, restoring and retaining the character of the area and encouraging activity after 5 p.m. and weekends.

The meeting will include representatives of the New Mexico Department of Transportation, Roosevelt County Commission and the city of Portales, Portales City Manager Debi Lee said.

“There is a lot going on concerning the master plan,” Lee said. “We are looking to finalize the design and begin construction by September.”

One of the concerns that the commission has is ensuring there is adequate parking inside the Roosevelt County Courthouse square.

There is going to be some parking spots that will be lost inside the courthouse square, said commission chairman David Sanders.

The main concern is to ensure that there is enough parking to handle the courthouse traffic.

“It is a livable plan and I support what they are trying to do,” Sanders said. “I just want to ensure that the best interests of the courthouse are upheld.”

Additional parking for the courthouse should be made available on Main Street once it is open to two-way traffic, according to Sanders.

Opening Main Street to two-way traffic is another concern to be addressed at Monday’s meeting, Lee said.

“We are trying to decide if we should wait until the traffic light is installed at the intersection of Second Street and Main,” Lee said.

The light at Second Street is a major component of the master plan design, Lee said.

NMDOT will have to get funding for that light, set the light in place, and get it operating.

“That light will be key in ensuring that the traffic on Main Street flows as outlined in the plan,” Lee said.

Once the concerns have been resolved the agreed upon design will go before the county commission and city council for final approval.

There is $600,000 available from grants, state appropriations and federal funding for the construction cost on the downtown square improvements, Lee said.

“We are looking for both the Council and commission to approve the final design on August 5,” Lee said. ‘The sooner we can get the project bid on and construction started the better.”