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City considers ideas for former Yucca site – Roswell Daily Record

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Bruce Gwartney, owner of J & G Electric, talks about what could be done with city-owned land near his business during a city forum Monday night at the Roswell Convention Center. He would like to use a portion of the property for covered parking for his employees.

Bruce Gwartney, owner of J & G Electric, talks about what could be done with city-owned land near his business during a city forum Monday night at the Roswell Convention Center. He would like to use a portion of the property for covered parking for his employees.
A public forum about potential uses of the site where the Yucca Recreation Center once stood didn’t attract many residents who might be interested in the use of the property.
Two ideas were discussed for use of the city-owned property at 500 S. Richardson Ave. One is to construct affordable housing for low-to-moderate-income people and the other is for a nearby business owner to provide covered parking for employees on a portion of the site.
Both Ward 1 city councilors, Cristina Arnold and Juan Oropesa, who represent the section of Roswell where the site is located, asked that people residing in the neighborhood let them know what they would like to see built there.
Oropesa also suggested the city council agenda item related to the workforce housing project be postponed until more residents could weigh in on it.
Councilors are being asked during Thursday’s city council meeting to approve donation of the 2.4 acres to Stephen Crozier, CEO and founder of Tierra Realty Trust LLC, which has developed affordable and mixed-price properties across New Mexico during the past 25 years.
Crozier, who gave his forum presentation virtually, said he has a plan for about 45 units of workforce housing on the site and would like to build an additional 25 workforce housing units on East and West Alameda Street for a total of about 70 units.
He started working with city staff in June to find a location and presented his plan to members of the city’s Legal Committee on Oct. 27, which recommended the proposal to councilors for approval.
Crozier asked that the city complete the formal adoption ordinance no later than Nov. 21 so he would have time to apply for financing from the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority by the mid-January deadline.
Mayor Timothy Jennings said Monday night that he grew up in the same neighborhood and frequently used the old rec center.
So did Bruce Gwartney, owner of J & G Electric, located near the site at 512. S. Main St. The local business was started by Gwartney’s father in 1962. More space would ease the current cramped conditions at that location, he said.
Also during the forum, Gwartney said the remaining space could be reserved for community uses, such as benches and additional landscaping, a community garden, basketball courts and perhaps even a community meeting building.
The building could bring back to the neighborhood something lost when the rec center was torn down — meeting space, he said.
Jennings said the site would be one of the city’s first infill projects and that it’s “important to get it right.”
He also said during last month’s committee meeting that Gwartney had expressed interest in using the site. With more than one party eyeing the land for development, Jennings suggested the city hold a forum to present these concepts and find out what residents say they think is most needed there.
Development of the site remains strictly “in the idea phase,” he explained.
No funding has been identified for any of the public amenities accompanying Gwartney’s parking plan, Jennings also stressed.
Kevin Maevers, the city’s community development director, said more parties made inquiries about the site Tuesday after the forum.
“It would be nice to see something in there,” Jennings added. “They need some urban development there.”
Reporter Terri Harber can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 308, or reporter03@rdrnews.com.
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