By Clarence Plank: PNT Staff Writer
Renovations at the Roosevelt County courthouse square should make this busy section of downtown Portales at least a little more pedestrian friendly.
That’s the goal of city and county officials, who have joined forces and funds to complete the project.
Crews spent much of last week tearing up the parking lot, carting away huge chunks of concrete. Work is expected to be completed in about two months.
When finished, South Main will become a two-way street with more parking spaces. South Avenue A will remain a one-way street which should help to cut down traffic flow on First and Second Streets.
“The idea is to create a little more pedestrian accessibility to the downtown area and hopefully to calm traffic or slow it down a little bit,” said Roosevelt County Manager Charlene Hardin.
The project also includes new benches, trees and sidewalks that will make the square more appealing, said Hardin.
City and county planners are also looking at possibility of a stop sign, or a traffic light at the corner of South Main and Second Streets in the future.
“It’s a joint project with the city and county,” Hardin said. “It’s tied into some other projects that are going to improve the sidewalks making the square more pedestrian friendly with more walk ability around the downtown square.”
The master plan was approved in June.
While city and county officials may be anticipating the renovations, not everyone is excited about the prospects.
Downtown business owner Buzz Goodson is concerned about where his customers are going to park.
“I did look at the plans,” Goodson said. “I noticed that it had a bunch of trees and grass that they were going to put down Second Street and come to find out, that there is no parking.”
Goodson owns Bar G Western Wear Boot & Tack Repair on Second Street across from the county courthouse. That side of the building will have a limited number of parking places and a green area to slow traffic flow on Second Street.
“I’ve met with the city manager and the county council men,” Goodson said. “I’m trying to get it to change because my customers have no place to park. The county said they might change some of the parking and the landscaping. They are going to have a meeting Monday.”
The project meeting takes place every Monday to review construction progress. However, Hardin said the county will address Goodson’s concerns.