Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

City officials considering new options for Sands Dorsey


January 13, 2015

QCS Managing Editor

Tucumcari’s city staff has gone back to the drawing board to fund disposal of the Sands Dorsey building’s ruins in downtown Tucumcari.

The building’s ruins have sat in their current condition since fires in 2007 and 2012 reduced the building to brick piles and open walls.

One of the greatest obstacles to ridding downtown of the ruin has been the apparently prohibitive cost of hauling the rubble, which contains asbestos, to a landfill located in Mountainair, about 164 miles from Tucumcari.

The total cost of tearing down and disposing of the building has been estimated at $400,000 to $500,000, Mayor Robert Lumpkin said in a Tucumcari City Commission workshop Thursday before the commission’s regular meeting .

In the past month or so, however, city officials have learned that a new section of Clovis’s landfill can now accommodate asbestos-containing material. Clovis is less than half the distance from Tucumcari as Mountainair, and the decreased distance has caused City Manager Jared Langenegger to seek a new estimate of disposal costs.

Doug Powers, assistant city manager, Langenegger said, is working with WH Pacific, an engineering firm that has conducted past studies of the Sands Dorsey site, to come up with a new estimate of the cost, based on the change in disposal sites.

Langenegger said that if the cost of disposal can be reduced enough, new options open up to dispose of the building.

“No one will give us a grant for demolition,” he said, but the demolition cost could be included in a grant request to build something new, like a park, on the site, Langenegger said.

Another option, he said, may be to use cash from existing city funds to tear the building down and clear the site or take out a low-interest loan to demolish the building.

Mayor Robert Lumpkin again outlined a plan he has described in previous commission meetings by which a gross receipts tax would be diverted for two years to raise funds to demolish the building. If there is money left over, Lumpkin said, those funds could also be used for disposal of other abandoned buildings in the city.

After two years, Lumpkin said, the tax funds would be returned to their original purpose, which is acquisition of water from Ute Lake. The tax diversion, he said, would have to be approved in a special election.

Langenegger said that some other alternatives may get the job done faster, however. Organizing the special election would take much of this year, and the funds may have to accumulate for two years before action is taken. 

Lumpkin said once the tax is approved, the city could take out a loan on the proceeds and move quickly.

Commissioner John Mihm said, “My opinion is to do it as quickly as possible.”


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