City manager: Hull Street issue won’t be resolved quickly

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

Things are moving slowly on fixing the Hull Street overpass, City Manager Joe Thomas said, but he said at least things are moving in the right direction.

Thomas and Clovis Mayor Gayla Brumfield led the discussion during Thursday’s City Commission meeting, nearly one week removed from a meeting about the railroad overpass with Gov. Bill Richardson.

The city closed the overpass indefinitely July 31 after a state engineer said the 46-year-old structure could not support its estimated daily traffic of 4,300 vehicles.

Costs been estimated as low as $4 million (renovation) and as high as $8 million to $10 million (replacement).

Brumfield, Thomas and commissioners Isidro Garcia and Robert Sandoval traveled to Santa Fe on Friday with about 15 Clovis citizens to tell Richardson how the closure has affected businesses near the area and dramatically increased commuting times.

“It was a very good meeting,” Brumfield said. “The governor understood the (inconvenience) it is for the citizens in that area.”

Thomas was able to meet with Department of Transportation officials during last week’s New Mexico Municipal League, and have ongoing discussions with BNSF Railway. The railroad company, Thomas said, is more than willing to lend any support needed to expedite the overpass’ repair.

Thomas said Thursday morning he met with HDR Engineering of Albuquerque, which has prior knowledge of the overpass. Thomas said he talked with HDR about a deadline of Sept. 26 for a preliminary design and cost estimate, and was told that date could be met.

“It’s not going to be a situation that is resolved in a matter of weeks, or even months,” Thomas said, “but things are going in the right direction and we are certainly doing anything we can to expedite the process.”

Meetings Watch

This is a supplemental report from Thursday’s Clovis City Commission meeting:

• Commissioners approved a letter of support for Clovis Community College in its efforts to have the New Mexico Department of Higher Education help fund a performing arts center.

John Neibling, president of the two-year college, said the college wants to take advantage of three adjacent properties on Main Street, most notably the former Mesa Theater. The college has a town hall, but Neibling said it’s more suitable for public meetings and lacks dressing rooms or scene shops.

“We’d like to be at the position where we can stage our own programs,” Neibling said.

With a full center, Neibling said, the college could not only host its own shows, but possibly teach additional classes in set construction and lighting design.

• Commissioners appointed members to the Revenue Review Committee. The eight-member committee includes one commissioner and one citizen from each district, with its first meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 9 at Clovis’ city hall.

Members are Randy Crowder and Gary Hoadley, District 1; Fred Van Soelen and Ben McDaniel, District 2; Isidro Garcia and Fidel Madrid, District 3; and Chris Bryant and David Briseno, District 4.

• The Clovis Aquatics Center was allowed to add an additional Water Aerobics Instructor.

Neil Lambert of the city’s parks and recreation department said hiring Cindy Anderson as a part-time instructor would cost a maximum of $7,000 annually, and would allow the center to expand its aerobics for seniors and children.

— Compiled by Kevin Wilson