District 4 councilor angered by SPIN house
By Roger Lanse
District 4 Councilor Guadalupe Cano reported she attended two conferences centering around outdoor economics and recreation; one, the Fourth Annual Outdoor Recreation Conference in Farmington. Cano said she is the vice president of the group putting on that conference and she was particularly interested in the aspect of accessibility of local trails for those with physical limitations. The other conference she attended was the Rivers of Opportunity Conference hosted by New Mexico Wild and sponsored in part by the town, where Cano said she supported an outdoor recreation component to the new Recreation Center.
She also attended a meeting at the Big Ditch where she encountered a 4-5" drop at the end of the wheelchair ramp. She said she was unable to join in the meeting as the end of the ramp prevented her from passing over. "The ramp that was built was very nice, but it was completely useless as it does not provide actual accessibility to that area," she said, calling the designers and builders of the ramp lazy. "This is something that should be rectified immediately as it should never have happened in the first place." Cano stated she believed Silver City used to have an employee dedicated to trail maintenance and, and if the town still does, would like to see that person working on keeping trails more accessible to the mobility challenged.
Other than accessibility, of particular concern to Cano is the area of town below Mountain View Road between 11th Street and Broadway and Durango Street to Swan Street, which area houses the SPIN-operated homeless shelter. This shelter has become quite a problem for the neighborhood, Cano said, "and it's time for the town to stop turning a blind eye to the problem." Cano stated the homeless SPIN house residents are loitering, they are not quiet or peaceful, they yell obscenities, and threaten residents who are permanent and have lived there for multiple generations. Many of these transients abuse drugs and leave their needles and other drug paraphernalia as litter and nap in residents' yards. Police and emergency medical services are called on a daily basis, Cano said. Neighbors have had these transients break into their houses, garages, or sheds and do not feel safe in their own homes, so they are incurring extra expenses to put up fences and security lighting and cameras.
Cano stated at a recent community meeting the director of the shelter said there are normally 40 people at the shelter and only one working restroom, so some use outside in back of the shelter. Children no longer feel safe to play outside, Cano said, as they often are chased by residents of the shelter. Requests to the Silver City Police Department for more frequent patrols have seemingly been ignored. "The problem is well beyond serious at his point." "Now the situation is completely out-of-hand, and it's up to the town to step up and do something about it."
Cano formally requested the SCPD to increase its regular patrols in the area immediately, especially between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. and report at the next council meeting of the number of traffic stops made in that area, how many were issued citations, and how many police-public interactions occurred.
"If this sounds like I'm angry about the situation," Cano said, "it's because I am. This is a neighborhood I grew up in and many of the residents have a special place in my heart."
District 3 Councilor Jose Ray Jr. asked those in the audience who do not want to stand for the pledge of allegiance to please leave and come in again. He again expressed his displeasure with the bond issue on the November ballot as property owners are the only ones paying for it. He encouraged residents to vote 'no.' He said he supports the 40 Days to Life Vigil and is against kids having to wear masks.
Mayor Ken Ladner announced that at Gough Park this coming Saturday at 8:30 p.m., residents may participate in a Trash Bash, and will receive trash bags, devices to pick up trash, and a safety vest.
Carol Ann Fugagli came before council to ask them to greatly reduce the town's carbon emissions, as "the decisions we make in the next 10 years will affect the next 10,000."
Council approved a resolution to enter into a loan/grant agreement between the town and the New Mexico Finance Authority for $988,197 for renovations to the Chloride Flats south water storage tank, $899,377 coming by way of a grant and $98,820 from gross receipts tax distributed to the town by the New Mexico Taxation and revenue Department. Town Manager Alex Brown told council the project will be put out to bid in the next week or two so the tank can be ready for storage next summer.
Council approved a resolution by the town to purchase a property, including a building and residence, located at 1805 Little Walnut Road, also known as the Royal Scepter Gem and Mineral store. Brown told council the half-acre property, together with the Rock House property next door, is planned to be developed as a visitor center for the Continental Divide Trail System. The property, including buildings, has been appraised at $189,500, Brown said, and the funds have been budgeted and are waiting.
District 2 Councilor Lynda Aiman-Smith stated the Royal Scepter area is a "fantastic place to have kind of a waystop for people who are on the Continental Divide Trail."
Also approved were two resolutions to participate in two Department of Transportation Project Fund Programs for local road projects; one for survey and design on 32nd Street between Swan Street and Pinos Altos Road with DOT's share being $119, 035 and the town's share being $6,265; and the other for a planning and design project for Silva Creek Nature Trail from the Waterworks Building to Penny Park, DOT's share being $38,000 and the town's share being $2,000. Brown stated this latter work is part of a plan for a Continental Divide Trail System Hub.
Council approved the adoption of an asset management policy required by the State of New Mexico.
Ladner re-appointed Simon Wheaton-Smith to the Planning and Zoning Commission.