City Councilors approved naming the new veterans’ cemetery the Gen. Douglas L. McBride-Roswell Veterans’ Cemetery at their meeting Thursday.
“I think the name is very appropriate. Gen. McBride has done an awful lot in the community,” said Col. Ron McKay, board member of the Chaves County Veterans’ Cemetery Board. “What a wonderful man he was.”
The cemetery was dedicated Dec. 30, at its newly improved grounds adjacent to the South Park Cemetery.
The cemetery board and city joined in the past few months to fast-track one acre of the 20-acre parcel donated to the city by the McBride family. The group expects to begin burials in the next few months, with future plans of seeking state and federal approvals to become officially recognized as a federally recognized cemetery.
The city’s Building and Lands Committee, comprised of councilors Jason Perry, Steve Henderson and Juan Oropesa, approved the name application just before the council meeting.
State [auth] Rep. Bob Wooley, Dist. 66, attended the committee meeting, along with Mayor Del Jurney and Councilor Art Sandoval.
Wooley commented to committee members and to the cemetery board members that he would be visiting Santa Fe to meet with New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services Secretary Timothy Hale and let him know about the work the group had accomplished.
“What Roswell is doing here is leading the way,” said Planning Director Michael Vickers. “We’ve submitted a phenomenal application to Hale the 30th of December. They were pleased with what we proposed for the 5-acre site. … It’s well on its way to being developed.”
Vickers also announced at the council meeting that he had submitted his letter of resignation. His last day will be Jan. 17.
“It was not an easy decision for us. You have to know that,” Vickers told the council. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this experience. I thank each of you for what you’ve given me.”
Vickers has accepted a position with a contracting and construction company in Lubbock.
“We wish him well,” Jurney said. “We thank you for what you’ve done. Thank you for your energy, your creativity and your professionalism. As you move forward, you’re going to be extremely successful in what you do.”
Perry said Vickers’ work has impacted Roswell.
“Roswell is so much better off because you’ve been part of our life. I thank you immensely for that,” Perry said.
Henderson said he has enjoyed working with him.
“We really appreciate what you’ve done for our community,” Henderson said. “You have to be thick-skinned. It’s a big task and you’ve handled it well.”
In other action, councilors approved a $60,000 Lodger’s Tax funding request to help pay for this year’s Roswell Filmfest and Cosmicon.
“We want to continue building the Roswell Filmfest and Cosmicon,” said Elaine Mayfield. “We’re trying to make us the ‘Sundance of Sci-Fi.’”
This year’s festival activities will include the digital shoot out and a new boot camp for high school students who will compete for prizes.
The festival is expected to end with a three-day extravaganza from June 27-29.
Councilor Dusty Huckabee objected to the fund request, telling the board he thought applications should be based on whether or not events drew overnight guests to local hotels.
“I think this is good for the Roswell community, but it does not qualify for Lodger’s Tax,” Huckabee said.
Mayfield said the event didn’t fill the motel rooms to the top, but it wasn’t a competition.
“It’s not a competition to fill the rooms. We’re working hard to build this program,” Mayfield said.
Jurney explained the funding is not based 100 percent on bed occupancy rates.
After further discussion, the council voted in favor of the request.