State council distributes grant funds in Tucumcari

Tova Fruchtman:Quay County Sun

Representatives of small communities around New Mexico came to Tucumcari on Thursday with hopes of receiving federal money in the form of Community Development Block Grants.

With about $15 million to allocate and $17 million worth of requests not every community got their grant. The money is intended to help with projects that will effect low-income to mid-income residents.

Tucumcari’s project was one of 35 projects that got CDGB funding. The city received $475,000 to improve paving and the sewer system on the streets near Zia Elementary school.

City Commissioner Christopher Maestas presented a petition by area residents to the committee apply for the grant to help this area.

“They need it to be done.” he said. “Those three streets were a complete disaster,”

Communities presented grant applications to the Community Development Committee – whose members are appointed from each district in the state by Gov. Bill Richardson – in January.

Quay County Commissioner Grace Madrid is the representative for Tucumcari’s district, and the Tucumcari representative working on the project, Lisa Andrada and members of Community Development Committee expressed appreciation for her hard work.

Madrid did not attend the event because she is ill in the hospital in Albuquerque.

“We are very, very pleased with what they gave us,” said Andrada. “We really appreciate the support Grace Madrid gave Tucumcari.”

The money was presented to the State of New Mexico to allocate by the United States department of Housing and Urban Development.

CDBG grants are important for small communities and are used to improve areas where residents have a low to moderate income, said Marty Cope, chair of the Community Development Committee.

Cope, an active member of the community in Hobbs, said communities were chosen on the basis of who had the greatest need.

“I think all of them should be funded but there’s just some of them we feasibly can’t do.” she said. I think there’s a dire need in every community to have the funding.”
As for the allocations process wasn’t easy for anyone.

“Some of them go away really happy, some really sad, and that breaks our heart. We’d rather fund everyone,” Cope said.

“The hardest part is having to tell somebody no, because the needs in rural New Mexico are so great.”