BF master plan includes Woodall land

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Now that the village of Bosque Farms finally owns the Woodall property on the North Loop, the next challenge is finding a use for the two acres.

At the request of Mayor Bob Knowlton, the council hosted a workshop to evaluate the village's master plan, which was finalized in 2006, and specifically how the new property fit into the big picture.

"I'm not sure we need to change a lot," said Knowlton. "We haven't changed a lot in the last six years. I guess the big question is what going to do with land the we recently acquired and are there thoughts of purchasing any in the future?"

Knowlton said in a recent grant application, he and staff had assembled the new 2010 census data, which could be used to easily update the master plan.

"Under community facilities, we may need an update for our new building, like the police and fire stations, and the maintenance building," Knowlton said.

Long-time village resident Lillie McNabb said when Carl Allen was mayor, and the village was trying to acquire the Woodall property, a survey was sent out to all the churches and schools, looking for input.

"What came of those was a multi-purpose building over there. Something for our youth," McNabb said. "The thought was to move the tennis courts over there and expand the library here. It could have been anything we wanted — basketball courts, church groups, fundraisers. It would have been bigger than the community center, which is divided by that center wall and doesn't work for everything."

Knowlton said whatever the village does with the property, it needs to consider ongoing costs of operation.

"The biggest complaint I hear is communities are getting capital outlay and have no idea what it's going to cost to maintain. We don't do that. We always look at the cost of continuing operations," he said. "If we have a multipurpose building, we are going to have another staff to organize events and be there like Rose (Poitras, the director Bosque Farms Community Center) is doing at the senior center. We need to know what's going to be added to the general fund budget."

Councilors Bill Kennedy and Dolly Wallace commented on the extremely positive response of both the community and local growers to the newly established farmers market at the Woodall property.

It was suggested that instead of a building to maintain, the village could leave the property as open space, install simple things, such as outdoor volleyball courts, relocate the tennis courts and simply let it be a multiuse park for events such as swap meets, farmers markets, art shows and music festivals.

Knowlton said a number of people had asked about putting a community pool on the property.

"We looked into liability insurance through the Municipal League and it's only about $1,500," he said. "The biggest cost is maintenance and upkeep. If we had good retail on the boulevard and were getting full GRT, that would be one thing. But I think we're years away from doing that."

Village Clerk/Administrator Gayle Jones said she had contacted several municipalities with pools at the request of Councilor Russ Walkup.

"I talked to places from Estancia to Ruidoso to Portales. It is not a money making proposition. It's a drain on the municipality," Jones said.

Estancia had to shut down its pool because it wasn't winterized right. They had to get leg money to fix it."

There were suggestions for things such as roller rinks and miniature golf course, but the council felt those were too commercial and better located on the boulevard.

The idea of a skate park was floated, but questions of liability and vandalism seemed to shoot it down.

"And I have a friend and his son who are very into competitive (skateboarding) and they are highly critical of the park designs," said the mayor. "If it's not designed right, people won't come and then it's a waste of money."

Knowlton said he would like to come up with a plan for the property before the council considers its Infrastructure Community Improvement Plan later this year.

The village's ICIP is submitted to the Legislature, so the state has a prioritized list of projects the village wants funded.


-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.