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Watershed Opportunity for Historic Waterworks Building presented at Town Council Meeting

By Charlie McKee

In the Town of Silver City Council meeting on Tuesday evening, July 24, Nancy Gordon continued efforts in her one-woman crusade to save the Waterworks Building, a Silver City landmark on Little Walnut Road, built in 1887 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

During the Public Input portion of the meeting, Gordon presented her plea to the Mayor and Town Council to allocate funds in the 2012-2013 fiscal year budget to replace the roof of the Waterworks Building.  She cited numerous problems, including a rotting support beam for the skylight and massive leaks due to neglect and decay, which will lead to imminent collapse of the roof – and subsequently the building – if not corrected quickly.  While the cost of a new roof, as approved by the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division, is estimated to be $50,000, Gordon announced that a potential donor is willing to match Town funding for half the cost.


Public support of the mission to preserve the Waterworks Building, which supplied Silver City's water from the 1880s to the 1960s, is evidenced by the impressive volunteer effort put forth by Silver City residents to save this Town icon.  Gordon stated that more than 80 volunteers had logged more than 1,300 hours in shoring up the stone walls by painstakingly re-pointing the mortar.  This effort resulted in the Town of Silver City and Nancy Gordon's receiving the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division's awards for "Community Preservation Planning" earlier this year and achieving national recognition.

This is not the first time that Gordon has made her case to the Town Council.  At the October 11, 2011, Council meeting, Gordon's video presentation proposed preserving the Waterworks Building as a Heritage Center for the Town in conjunction with the Town’s Botanical Gardens, the neighboring school, and the existing property’s water rights.  At that time, Mayor James Marshall stated that he would follow up with a "work session" to determine the fate of the building.  However, no such action has been taken since the October Council meeting.  Gordon's vision is for this Town property to become a Nature Center and Water Museum for the Town and its children, linking the Botanical Gardens, José Barrios elementary school, and the Waterworks Building.

In the New Business portion of the meeting, the Town Council approved the following items:
•    Public Celebration Permit Application for the 4th Annual Pickamania, sponsored by the Mimbres Region Arts Council on September 8 and 9, 2012 at Gough Park, for License Holder High Desert Brewing Company, Las Cruces.
•    Resolution No. 2012-17: Fiscal Year 2011-2012 Final Budget Adjustment.
•    Resolution No. 2012-18: Fiscal Year 2012-2013 Budget and Final 4th Quarter Report for Fiscal Year 2011-2012.
•    Resolution No. 2012-19:  Ratification of a certain Agreement between the Town and Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments for Fiscal Year 2012-2013, appointing Alex Brown as Town representative to the COG Board, with Cynthia Bettison as first Alternate and Peter Peña as second Alternate.
•    Resolution No. 2012-20:  Application by the Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments for the Certified Communities Initiative Program on behalf of the Town of Silver City, which allows a regional approach in applying for program funds for economic development opportunities.
•    Notice of Intent to Adopt Ordinance No. 1209: Amendment of Chapter 52, Article III, Section 52-71 of the Silver City Municipal Code, which will raise water and sewer rates by 3% on tiered rates.  This is the first rate increase since 2008.
•    Selection of Voting Delegate James Marshall and Alternate Cynthia Bettison to vote at the New Mexico Municipal League's Annual Conference.

Upon approval of all of the above items, the meeting was adjourned.

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