By Bill Moffitt
The last meeting of the month for input of ideas on the fate of the Yucca Recreation Center drew only a handful of citizens, much to the dismay of meeting organizers Saturday morning.
City Councilor for Ward 5 Tabitha D. Denny and Director of Parks and Recreation Tim Williams spoke to the three people in attendance at the New Mexico Game and Fish Department, 1912 W. Second St., at the 11:30 a.m. meeting.
Attending was: Ann Huff, and Cookie and Ellie Fletcher. Parks and Recreation Department Superintendent Ken Smith also joined the group later.
“We’re trying to make sure that we do it right,” Denny said about the public meetings schedule. “It’s disappointing that there’s only a few here.”
A final meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 3, at the Parks and Recreation Office in Cahoon Park, from 6-8 p.m., 1101 W. Fourth St. However, Denny asked that concerned citizens continue to call and e-mail her at: 910-9135 or t.denny@
roswell-nm.gov, with their opinions if they cannot attend.
During Saturday’s meeting, Williams showed a display of basic ideas of what might be incorporated into a new building such as a pool and an indoor soccer field.
“The weather is not always good,” Williams said. “However, these (drawings) are just “cookie cutter” ideas and they would have to be customized for our building.”
“Why isn’t the building open on Saturdays?” Huff asked. “And why is it open (other times) when it’s not being used?”
Williams explained that the center is usually not open on Saturdays once school begins, except to host sporting events. The center’s offices are open during the week even if there is hardly anyone using the center. Williams said that he would investigate the current schedule further to see if they could open the center every Saturday.
The group agreed that the location of the center serves as a safe place for the children in the area to go, noting that only a block separates it from known drug dealing activity.
“I would rather have my kids be somewhere where they can learn something,” Huff said. None of the attendees have children living in Roswell but all expressed concern that there should be more discussion about the Yucca center.
“Where are the parents at these meetings?” Mr. Fletcher wanted to know. “They are the ones that should be involved.”
Denny noted that it is an ongoing problem to get the community involved and help their city representatives make decisions.
“They want us to do something, but no one wants to work for it.” Denny said.
So far, $500,000 in state funds is available to fix the roof.
“But if we put up a new roof and don’t do the repair work to the building it will be like putting the roof on sticks,” she said.
On the other hand if the state funding is not used it would go back to the state and the city would have to reapply for the money later, which it may or may not get then, Denny explained.
Denny doesn’t see the historic 1912 building being torn down, even if a new center is built but “then we have to consider the maintenance costs,” she added.
Williams said that some of the programs have been moved to the Roswell Adult Center, but said that they haven’t approached the Roswell Independent School District nor the New Mexico Military Institute about the use of their gyms.
Williams said that the next step will be to bring in a private engineering firm to check the soundness of the Yucca center.
“The center is still safe,” Denny added.