Review of CIP applications underway

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By Jennifer Garcia

Review of the Capital Improvement Projects applications began on Monday night at White Rock Fire Station #3, with a good public turnout.


The meeting marked the first in a series that will be held in an effort to review the applications that were received during the CIP cycle, which opened in October 2008.


The CIP process began when Council reviewed and endorsed a new CIP Development Flow Chart for all CIP projects in July 2008.


According to the county website, the flow chart included seven project phases plus a pre-project “Phase 0.”


Council asked staff to develop a new process, which included a major emphasis on community involvement in early project stages, as well as more accurate project definitions and tighter controls on project scopes and budgets throughout the process.


The CIP cycle was opened on Oct. 20, 2008. County Boards and Commissions, individuals, County departments, civic groups, or any combination of sponsors and applicants could submit the proposals.


The schedule was set up so the county could have a CIP budget proposal that could be ready in time for the council’s consideration as part of the overall FY 2010 budget next year.


The CIP review meetings are broken up into four different meetings, which address five to six applications per meeting.


Committee members from the public are Herb McLean, Lou Santoro and Ralph Phelps.


County committee members are CDD Director Rick Bohn, Utilities Manager John Arrowsmith, Public Works Director Kyle Zimmerman, Chief Financial Officer Steven Lynne and Public Information Officer Julie Habiger.


The applications addressed during Monday night’s meeting were White Rock SR 4 improvements/alignment study; White Rock gateway structure; White Rock Arroyo trail; White Rock visitors center and RV park; the demolition of the old White Rock Fire Station 3 and the demolition of two houses at 35th and Trinity.


Ted Crawford chair of the Transportation Subcommittee, made the presentation for the White Rock, SR 4 improvements/alignment study application.


The project seeks Phase 1 CIP funding to conduct an alignment study of coordinated transportation corridor improvements along State Road 4 in White Rock, generating a preferred alternative for a new, more complete streetscape and intersection design.


Transportation improvements comprise the foundation of a larger effort to revitalize the community in line with an adopted master plan, the White Rock Center Master Plan/Economic Development Strategy.  


In accordance with the adopted plan, streetscape improvements seek the following objectives:


• Traffic calming;


• safe pedestrian crossings and intersections;


• multi-modal transportation options (pedestrian, bicycle, public transit);


• enhanced streetscape aesthetics (landscaping, street furniture, lighting); and


• create a sense of place and identity for White Rock.


He said the entire cost of the project would be approximately $810,000.


“Restaurants, an RV park, municipal facilities, a visitors center and a youth or senior center could all be placed in this area,” Crawford said. “State Road 4 at its current state does not provide this accessibility.”


Randy Parks, chair of the Trails, Open Space and Signage Subcommittee, gave the second White Rock presentation.


The application seeks Phase 1 CIP funding of $50,000 for retaining a design build team to provide a final design and cost estimate for the construction of two gateway arches or monuments, one to be placed east of the proposed White Rock Center in the vicinity of Rover and SR 4, and one to the west of the Center, possibly in the vicinity of Pajarito and SR 4.


“It (the gateway) will be an identifier for White Rock for many years,” Parks said.


The third White Rock application had to do with trails and arroyos improvements. Parks also gave the presentation.


The application seeks Phase 1 CIP funding of $100,000 for retaining a landscape architectural and civil engineering firm to perform the final design, cost estimates and construction documents for a trail system, which would traverse through the study area and connect with the existing Canada Del Buey trail east of Rover and with Piñon Park west of Sherwood.


The fourth White Rock application was for a visitors center and RV park. This application seeks Phase 1 CIP funding of $200,000 for retaining an architectural firm to perform the schematic design, design development and construction documents for the first phase of the regional Visitors/Orientation Center, which would include a transit/transfer hub and an RV park on the subject site.


The visitors center would be approximately 2,000-3,000 square feet in size.


Capital Improvement Project Manager and Facilities Director Anne Laurent gave the last two presentations of the evening. She began with the demolition of the former White Rock Fire Station 3 application.


The application was presented as a Phase 2 application in the amount of $400,000.


The project program is as follows: Perform a building hazardous materials characterization; perform Phase I environmental assessment; issue a solicitation for bids; evaluate and select a contractor. During the presentation, Zimmerman said that the building is structurally sound, but it does have a lot of asbestos.


Jan Bassinger, who is affiliated with the Jemez House Youth Home, asked Laurent if the county would consider selling the fire station to Jemez House for use as a possible thrift store, instead of demolishing it. Laurent said that it may be a possibility, however, Bassinger would have to contact Assistant County Administrator Anthony Mortillaro regarding a possible sale.


The last application revolved around the demolition of two houses on Trinity Drive. The Project program is as follows: Perform a building hazardous materials characterization; issue a solicitation for bids; evaluate and select a contractor.


“Trinity is limited to what you can do,” Laurent said. “We intend to take the houses down to improve safety.”


She also stressed that the houses were purchased for the sole purpose of demolition in order to make Trinity Drive safer. The estimated cost of demolition for this project is $139,000.


The next CIP review meeting will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers. Meetings are open to the public and typically last until about 9 p.m.


The next set of applications to be reviewed are: Los Alamos Apartment demolition; County Historical archives and records facility; Bathtub Row traffic management; Deacon Street improvements and Central Avenue/NM 502 intersection.