Bosque Farms council approves water tank mural


While the Bosque Farms mayor and councilors were firmly behind a proposed mural on a municipal water tank, some residents disagreed.

Last month, the council reviewed and approved artwork for a municipal water tank on N.M. 47. In November, Los Lunas Schools Board of Education President Charles Tabet approached the council about allowing a mural to be painted on the tank, proclaiming the village the "Home of the Jaguars."

Tabet said there are two water tanks in the village of Los Lunas sporting the Los Lunas High School Tigers.

"We want to support Valencia High School and their feeder schools," Tabet said. "The money to do this wouldn't come out of operational funds. It would be from community support or fundraisers. This won't effect students."

The project was greeted with enthusiasm by the governing body, and the request was approved unanimously.

Tabet promised the councilors and mayor that he would return with artwork for their approval before the project moved forward. The design presented last week was fairly simple — on one side were the words "Los Lunas Schools" and the jaguar. On the other, a list of all the schools.

The councilors asked that Bosque Farms Elementary be given top billing in the design, since it was located in the village. Tabet said the project would cost about $5,000.

But not everyone was thrilled with the proposed mural. Village resident and former mayor Sharon Eastman asked why the water tank was being painted to begin with.

Tabet said the students wanted to show support for the "Valencia side" of the district, pointing out that Los Lunas High School has its "Tiger tank" along I- 25.

Eastman said she was in favor of the schools, but not in favor of "gaudy-ing up the water tank."

Robin Claxton, who lives on Eldorado Loop, said there were people living next to the tank who would have to look at it from their homes.

"Right now, it does blend in as well as it can," Claxton said.

As she returned to her seat, she commented that the mural was "tacky."

The mural would only be visible from the boulevard, Tabet said, to those driving either north or south through the village. The tank sits on the west side of Bosque Farms Boulevard, just north of South Bosque Loop.

Councilor Dolly Wallace asked Tabet what other locations had been considered for the mural. He said there was a water tank east of Valencia High School, but very little traffic went past the high school, as well as one at Valencia Middle School.

"But you have to drive out to the school to see it," he said. "They are both out of the way and difficult to see."

Lee Wharton, a village resident, said if she lived near the tank, she wouldn't want to look at it from across the street.

"I suggest you take the $5,000 and build a sign somewhere more appropriate and that doesn't intrude on the community," Wharton said.

Saying the mural wouldn't "defame our community," village resident Lillie McNabb said the mural would also recognize Bosque Farms Elementary as being a "fantastic school. I would rather see that on the well than anything else. It recognizes our students from elementary plumb up to high school. I'd rather look at that than a blank wall."

Tabet said the students were excited about the mural, saying they often "feel like stepchildren" in the district.

Wharton asked if anyone had talked to the neighbors who live near the tank.

"I was a teacher and have lived here for 20 years. I support our kids," she said. "But I think you need to ask the neighbors."

Councilor Wayne Ake quipped that if the village wanted to keep things rural, they could paint the tank "John Deere green."

Wallace noted that some larger towns, such as Las Cruces, use water tanks to display murals that tell the history of a community.

"Personally, I find that to be very attractive. What I am somewhat concerned about is, with this historical group getting on its feet, if we would want to use it, the village would hold priority," she said.

Tabet said he absolutely understood that the village owned the tank and had priority.

Ake made a motion to approve the artwork, with the change of putting BFES at the top of the list of school names. The motion passed 4-0.

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