Potential ‘racino’ site discussed

By Steve Hansen
QCS Managing Editor

The Tucumcari City Commission received assurances Thursday the 245-acre proposed site of the Coronado Park Racetrack and Casino, or ”racino,” has the utility infrastructure and services capacity to accommodate a large-scale entertainment and hospitality operation.

Chief among the assets that makes the site feasible for this kind of development are a 10-inch water line that can accommodate up to 160 gallons per minute of flow, a 10-inch line with a lift station for access to the city’s wastewater treatment facility and utility access that can be accommodated by expanding existing fixtures, according to Bob Paulette, a consulting engineer with Forsgren Engineering, which conducted the study.

The site can accommodate 4 million to 5 million square feet of building space needs, the study said.

The site could also accommodate facilities such as a major warehouse operation of up to 1.8 million square feet or an agricultural industry-related operation, such as a food processing plant, according to Bob Paulette, a consulting engineer from Forsgren Engineering, which conducted the study for the city using proceeds from a Community Development Block Grant program planning grant.

The federal grant totaled $50,000 with a $5,000 match from city funds.

The commission heard Paulette’s report shortly after hearing a report from Warren Frost, chairman of the Quay County Gaming Commission, who had returned from a meeting of the New Mexico Racing Commission on that same day.

At that meeting, Frost said, the racing commissioners said that before opening competition among community and business interests for a sixth racetrack and gaming license, they want to hear from participants in the horse racing industry and the five current racino license holders on whether a sixth license should be issued.

Frost said this development has shifted the Quay County authority’s priority to demonstrating that a sixth license would provide benefits to local communities and the state.

The Commission also approved more than $400,000 in contracts with the New Mexico Non-Metro Area Agency on Aging for programs that benefit seniors. The proposals were presented to the council by Jessica Elebario, who manages the city’s senior citizen programs. None of these grants, she said, require a match from other city funds.

The contracts are funded by grants received through the agency on aging. They include:

• Nearly $380,000 for programs that include meals served at the Tucumcari Senior Center and delivered to homes of seniors who are house-bound, homemaking and housekeeping assistance, respite care, transportation and health promotion. “This is the grant that pays for most of my program,” Elebario said.

• About $33,800 for the city’s senior Nutrition Service Incentive Program, through which the senior program pays for food for the Senior Center and home-delivered meals, Elebario said.

The commission also approved a grant from the Walmart Foundation for $5,460 to assist with outreach, feeding and nutrition education programs for seniors.

In addition, the commission approved memorandums of understanding with Tucumcari Schools and the Eastern Plains Community Action Agency Headstart and Early Headstart programs to operate the Foster Grandparent program, in which senior volunteers work with children who have special or exceptional needs while the children are at school.

The commission also approved the appointment of Larry Rigdon, Tucumcari’s fire chief, to the city’s planning and zoning board.

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