By Charlie McKee
In the Town of Silver City Council meeting on Tuesday evening, September 25, the Councilors took a major step forward in saving the Town's historic treasure, the Waterworks Building on Little Walnut Road, from deterioration and imminent collapse of the roof structure.
The Councilors unanimously approved Bid 12/13-4 to replace the boiler and pump room roof and roof structure for $47,245 to C D General Contractors, Inc. of Las Cruces, as well as $1,800 to Caspersen Engineering for construction oversight. An anonymous donor is contributing $25,000 of the almost $50,000 price tag, which provided incentive to the Town and underlined the commitment of its citizens to preserve this icon of Silver City's history. Councilor Cynthia Bettison thanked the anonymous donor for such a significant gift to the town.
Nancy Gordon, who has been championing the preservation of the Waterworks Building for several years, informed the Council that funds remaining from a "Preserve America" grant in 2006 and a Freeport McMoRan grant paid for the historically appropriate design of the new corrugated tin roof. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, and the design was subject to federal review.
In other New Business, the Council approved the following items:
• Service Agreement between the Town of Silver City and the Tyrone Property Owners Association to add a feed for wastewater from Tyrone to Silver City's feed to the wastewater system. The new service is tied to the existing Town of Silver City water meter-reading contract with Tyrone and incurs no additional administrative fees for Silver City.
• Public Celebration Permit Application for WNMU Alumni Homecoming on October 5, 2012 from 4:30 to 9:30 pm.
• Authority for the Mayor to express the Town's position regarding essential air service to the NM Department of Transportation.
With respect to the essential air service issue, Mayor James Marshall stated that the Town is collaborating with Grant County to issue a joint letter regarding the region's position. He informed the Council and audience that Great Lakes Airlines is proposing service through Phoenix, AZ, which will allow more airplanes to be available for Silver City service. SeaPort Airlines is also proposing service to and from Grant County airport, but is proposing non-pressurized, 9-seater planes.
Cissy McAndrew, who was involved in the transition from Mesa Airlines to Great Lakes Airlines some years ago, spoke to the Mayor and Council, urging them to be cautious of promises made by Great Lakes Airlines. In prior experience contracting their services, similar promises of additional available planes and mechanics for the Grant County airport were never met.
During the Reports portion of the Town Council meeting, the Silver City Adaptation Conference Team of Nick Susillo, Linda Thompson, and Cissy McAndrew presented a report of their recent attendance at the International Climate Change Adaptation Conference in Tucson, AZ. They noted that Silver City's contingent at the Conference was the largest and that they made excellent contacts with other attendees, in particular with the Western Adaptation Alliance of western cities whose goals are similar to those of Silver City.
The team reported that Flagstaff, AZ, in particular is a model for Silver City in its climate-change adaptation goals, in that it is approximately the same size, is at the same altitude, has similar demographics and physical attributes, and is very focused on resiliency in its adaptation-planning efforts. They also reported that Grant County's and the region's experience with the Whitewater-Baldy Fire was a poignant example in discussions at the Conference of the potential results of hot, extended 12-year drought in the southwest region of the country. It pointed inexorably to the significant impact of "mega-fires" on eco-systems and communities, whose economy is based on tourism.
Lastly, Susillo reported that the team would be developing a comprehensive Adaptation Plan over the next nine months for review with the Mayor's Climate Advisory Committee. In addition, Dr. David Orr of Oberlin College will be visiting Silver City on November 26, 2012, to meet with the Town's Sustainability Department and to speak with the community and WNMU on these environmental issues.