Welcome signs approved for three entry points

Staff report

Three signs on rock foundations will welcome visitors to Tucumcari in three locations, funded with $28,195 in Lodger’s Tax proceeds.
The Tucumcari City Commission approved the expenditure Thursday.

The signs will resemble the “Welcome to New Mexico” sign over westbound lanes of Interstate 40 at the Texas State Line at Glenrio, but on a much smaller scale, 10 feet tall by 16 feet wide, according to documents handed to commissioners.

They will be set on the roadside at:

• The city limits south of Interstate 40 on State Route 209,

• Near the Tucumcari Convention Center along Historic Route 66,

• Near the eastern Historic Route 66 exit from Interstate 40, Jared Langenegger, city manager, said.

Langenegger said the three locations must now be approved by the  New Mexico Department of Transportation.

In other business Thursday, Langenegger reported:

• The city will be hosting a meeting of the Eastern Plains Council of Governments board of directors in June.

• City staff members are exploring possible U.S. Department of Agriculture grants to help the city achieve complete re-use of treated water from its wastewater treatment plant.  Achieving 100-percent re-use, Langenegger said, would help the city bypass stringent federal Environmental Protection Agency.

•  City staff members are working with Forsgren Engineering and the New Mexico Environment Department to plan the demolition of the Sands Dorsey Building and clearing of the site.

• Coronado Park has been closed temporarily for disposing of tree trimming waste, but the city’s landfill is accepting tree trimmings free of charge.

In a work session before Thursday’s meeting, Gail Houser, director of Tucumcari MainStreet, reported on MainStreet projects, which focus on the city’s downtown area, including:

• the move of Tucumcari’s Farmer’s Market to the Rail Depot, beginning in July. The twice-weekly market has operated at Wailes Park on the east side of town. Commissioners discussed concerns about shelters and wind protection for sellers and shoppers at the site.

•  the possibility of assistance for the downtown area by qualifying as a Metropolitian Redevelopment Area (MRA)through the state.  The designation “gives the city flexibility in how it works with property owners” on some projects, Houser said.  According to literature from the the state’s Main Street program, MRA can help with land acquisition, building demolitions, zoning changes and community facilities.  MRA also opens funding options, such as tax increment financing, revenue bond financing, federal Community Development Block Grant funding and special Local Economic Development Act provisions, according to program literature.

•  alternatives for development of the Sands Dorsey building site, once the building is demolished and the site cleared, that would involve wind or solar energy.  The site could host something “really spectacular” to help draw visitors to the downtown area, Houser said.

Also in the workshop, Mayor Robert Lumpkin proposed temporarily diverting some tax collections that go into a fund to pipe water from Ute Lake to the city to improving some city infrastructure, including street and the sewer system.  The two-year diversion, Lumpkin said, would have to be approved in a city election, but could be in place by the end of this year.

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