Year in review: County projects under way

Alisa Boswell

Big things have happened for Roosevelt County in 2010, according to County Commission Chairman David Sanders and outgoing County Commissioner Gene Creighton, who will finish his second term with the county at the end of this month.

“I have appreciated serving the city and the county for the last eight years,” said Creighton. “We’ve had some rough times but mostly, it’s been good. I thank everyone for all their support.”

Creighton said construction recently began on the special events center at Roosevelt County Fairgrounds. He said the center was one of the county’s bigger projects for 2010 and was a “big deal” for county commissioners and residents.

Sanders said the building will be 275 feet long and 200 feet wide. It will house animals during fair season and will be used for the county fair’s Ag Expo. Construction on the building is expected to be completed by the 2011 fair season.

Sanders said another county project related to the fairgrounds is the placing of old windmills, which were donated to the county by the Dalley family of Portales. The windmills will be put up as a tourist attraction.

Two other county projects under construction are a new nurse’s center next to La Casa Family Health Center and a senior citizens center inside the La Casa building.

La Casa and the surrounding land are owned by the county.

Sanders said construction on the nurse’s building began two months ago and county officials expect it to be completed within another two months.

Construction on the senior center is just now starting and is expected to be completed within six months.

Sanders said work on both facilities is ahead of schedule.

Sanders said another 2010 development was the building south of Portales, which was previously the New Mexico National Guard Armory. It is being leased to the county sheriff’s department for $1 a year for the next 20 years.

The county also used a $700,000 stimulus to repave three and a half miles of New Mexico Highway 88.

Sanders said one of the most important goals the county plans to maintain for 2011 is a balanced budget for the county without raising property taxes.

“We’ve been able to maintain a balanced budget for a long time,” said Sanders. “We can maintain what we do with the taxes that are already coming in.”

Sanders said the county also hopes to keep the cost of the detention center down for 2011.

Creighton said another big project the county is pursuing for the new year, with the help of the Roosevelt County Community Development Corporation and their director, Greg Fisher, is bringing more industry into the county, especially green energy industry.

Creighton said the goal for 2011 is to try to build wind farms in the Roosevelt County area. One wind farm, San Juan Mesa, already exists in Roosevelt County west of Elida. He said the county is currently looking for land between Dora and Elida to lease for the construction of a transmission line for a wind farm.