Grady mayor asks county for direct road to Cannon Air Force Base

Kevin Wilson

Grady residents are hoping a straight shot from Cannon Air Force Base is just the shot an economically- and population-depressed village needs.

An upgrade of about eight miles of Curry Road Q is a project Mayor Wesley Shafer and others have proposed. The road improvements would allow motorists to bypass Clovis en route to the village, which has approximately 100 residents and is struggling to grow.

“Our school is really hurting for students right now,” said Elmer White, president of the Caprock Village Economic and Community Development Corporation. “With the crunch from the state, we just need more students, and Cannon Air Force Base needs housing. We would like to put some housing in Grady, and Curry Road Q goes right into Ranchvale and Cannon Air Force Base. We have a small school here, low teacher-to-student ratio. We would love to have people from Cannon come out this way.”

County Manager Lance Pyle said the item has not been brought before the Curry County Commission, but he has received correspondence from White and Shafer, and the proposal will at least get a hearing in a series of public meetings next month.

“Currently, what we are working on is applying for a Community Development Block Grant for 2012,” Pyle said. “We are going to hold three public meetings in September getting input from the residents regarding what we should apply for. This is one of the projects that has been submitted.”

A previous version of the $500,000 block grant helped fund Melrose’s incoming health care clinic.

Meetings are set for 9 a.m. Thursday at the County Commission room of the county courthouse, 2 p.m. Sept. 13 at the Texico Fire Department and 6 p.m. Sept. 16 at the Curry County Fairgrounds indoor pavilion. Pyle said Curry Road Q is the only suggestion received so far, but added residents are encouraged to come support the road or any other suggestion for the block grant.

In his letter to the commission, White said the village struggles to find revenue sources because Grady “relies solely on the sale of water and (a) small cities grant which does not provide enough funding to keep a village clerk employed full time, much less make improvements.”

Shafer said a direct route could be 15 to 20 minutes faster than the current route through Clovis, and County Road Supervisor Chris Pacheco said a Grady route could alleviate some traffic on Prince Street.

Pacheco stressed he hadn’t given the project a full look, but estimated eight miles of road would need to be paved to complete the project, and such a project could cost around $120,000 per mile on a phased schedule.

“It’s going through the draw, so there could be some archaeological clearances,” Pacheco said, “but I don’t know to what extent.”

Grady Superintendent Ted Trice was not at the schools Thursday afternoon due to a family emergency, but Administrative Secretary Kathy Edwards said the school has 121 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, and could probably house another 80 without making any renovations.

A population bump could, Shafer said, help in the effort to land a new gas station. Shafer said he’s been turned down numerous times by some convenience stores, but more residents could attract a convenience store so it doesn’t take an hour round-trip to buy a gallon of milk.

“They could make a living,” Shafer said, “but they wouldn’t get rich.”