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New Water Crossing and Other Upgrades Proceed in Santa Clara

by Jim Owen

Santa Clara officials are pursuing several projects involving improvements to streets and other infrastructure, including a new low-water crossing on Mill Street.

For years, water lines and sewer pipes have been broken every time floodwaters raged down Cameron Creek. The lines will be protected by a concrete structure, which is being installed to replace the old dirt crossing at Mill Street. The projected completion date is July 7.

The state Office of Natural Resource Trustee provided a $280,000 grant for the project. Village officials have been trying to get funding for three years, but the effort was complicated by the need to comply with environmental regulations governing streams.

During Thursday's monthly meeting of the village's Board of Trustees, Mayor Richard Bauch announced that the state Transportation Department's Municipal Arterial Program has approved a $68,189 grant.

The money will be used to design and plan improvements to Bellm Street, from Oak Street to U.S. 180. Village officials plan to apply for additional funding from the program to repave the street, and install a drainage system and sidewalks.

Santa Clara also is seeking a $680,000 grant from the federal Colonias infrastructure program to connect to Silver City's water system, to provide for emergencies like well failures. Ten percent of the funding would be in the form of a loan, which Santa Clara would have 20 years to repay.

The proposed connection is at an Arenas Valley site where a Silver City waterline is just 200 yards from Santa Clara's water tanks. Regional planners' long-term goal is to link all the municipal water systems from Silver City to Deming.

Bauch reported that an addition to the fire station, funded by a $180,000 state legislative capital outlay, is almost complete. The new space will house an office, kitchen and showers.

The Police Department expects to move into its new quarters, at a former day-care center at 101 Prescott St., the first week of July. Plumbing and electrical repairs, as well as installation of telephone lines, were finished last week. The wiring alone cost the village about $5,000, because the work reportedly was not done right during a previous renovation of the building.

The former police offices at Village Hall are to be used for Municipal Court and document storage.

A representative of the Silver City-based Engineers Inc. presented to the trustees drawings of proposed streetlights and sidewalks along Bayard Street. The board has applied for $500,000 from the federal Community Development Block Grant program to conduct the project next year.

It also was reported during the meeting that money left over from a $1 million grant is being spent on connecting five more mobile homes on Racetrack Road to Santa Clara's water and sewer systems. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service awarded the funding several years ago to connect residences along Racetrack and Twin Sisters roads.

In other business, the trustees agreed to pay about $250 for a headstone for a "buffalo soldier," Juan Arroyos, who is buried in Santa Clara's cemetery. Terrazas Funeral Home has donated a plaque, and the National Guard plans to conduct a ceremony when the headstone is in place. Village officials have been unable to locate a living relative of Arroyos, and the exact location of his remains is unknown.

The board, recognizing that the village has two Fellner streets, voted to rename one of them Caddell Crossing (because it passes property owned by former Trustee Thomas Caddell). Other residents along the street have been notified. The village's only expense will be the replacement of street signs.

The trustees issued a 30-day proclamation banning the use of fireworks, due to the fire danger resulting from dry conditions. Santa Clara has another ordinance that prohibits outdoor burning at any time.

The village Safety Committee presented a report requesting the purchase of a radio-communications system for the Maintenance Department. The board included in its budget for the current fiscal year about $2,000 for a base unit and four or five hand-held radios. The department consists of three full-time and two part-time employees.

On other matters, the trustees:

-- Asked residents to volunteer for a Community Cleanup on Saturday at Viola Stone Park, beginning at 8 a.m.;

-- Agreed to hire Joseph Wade to succeed his late wife, Karen, as the village's web master;

-- Announced that the animal shelter thrift store is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays; and

-- Voted to hold next month's board meeting at 3 p.m. Thursday, July 17, rather than the originally scheduled June 10, due to conflicts in trustees' schedules.


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