Talon News - Good Local News

By Dorothy Nobis
City of Bloomfield 

BLOOMFIELD CITY COUNCIL HEARS PLANS FOR DEVELOPMENT

 

Dorothy Nobis

Bloomfield City Engineer and Public Works Director Jason Thomas points to the area where a multipurpose development can be built through a major project for Bloomfield

Located in the midst of the City of Bloomfield, in an area surrounded by homes, more than 18 acres on Blanco Blvd. and North Fifth Ave. have been a grave yard for an oil refinery for more than 30 years.

Old tanks and several buildings are on the west side of the parcel of property, with monitoring wells that record the contamination of the land, and are a reminder of the gas refinery that once contributed to the economy of the city.

Bloomfield City Engineer and Public Works Director Jason Thomas wants to re-energize an effort begun several years ago to reclaim that land and make it into an area that will benefit the neighborhood and be a gathering place for families and visitors.

In a presentation to the Bloomfield City Council June 12, Thomas shared his vision of turning the abandoned property into a skate park for young people and a multi-use commercial area.

With the decrease of gross receipts taxes due to the downturn of the oil and gas industry in the city, Thomas decided it was time to give the city's residents something to look forward to.

"With the city's budget woes and infrastructure challenges dominating many of the city's conversations, city staff thought the community needed something positive to focus on," Thomas said. "Redevelopment of this idle property is an exciting prospect for the neighborhood and the city as a whole."

A skate park is an idea for one of the three parcels, to give the city's young people a place to enjoy their skateboards. Bloomfield is the only city in the tri-city area that doesn't have a skate park for its residents, Thomas sad.

"In addition, City Manager Eric Strahl pointed out that the land should also be used for economic development," Thomas said, adding that the park and mixed-land use would complement each other, as well as revitalize the area and improve property values.

Strahl supports the project and believes it will be a benefit to the community and visitors to the area.

"It's important that we look at options for generating additional revenue for the city and bringing people into the community," Strahl said. "It's also important to get the community involved with the project and listen to their ideas of what they'd like to have in the development."

"This development will allow the city to do more for the people who live here," Strahl added.

The vision of the redevelopment of the area also comes with the time and hard work to make it happen.

If the Bloomfield City Council decides to move forward with the project, the current landowners (Lampliter Enterprises and Tesoro Corporation) will be asked to give the city access to the property. Once access is granted, environmental site assessments will be performed. The city will apply for a grant from the New Mexico Environment Department to pay for the assessments.

Once the assessments are completed, the city will begin discussions with the landowners for a property transfer, Thomas said. "The current landowners have much to gain from the redevelopment," Thomas said. "They become agents of change for this neighborhood and for the City of Bloomfield."

Once the land is acquired, the city will apply for a Brownfields Grant through the Environmental Protection Agency, Thomas explained. That grant will provide funding for the environmental cleanup of the land.

"The environmental site assessment will identify environmental conditions that will need to be addressed before development can take place," Thomas said. "The Brownfields Grant will be used to clean up any remaining contamination and bring it to a level that will allow the land to be used."

Once the land is determined by the New Mexico Environment Department to be contamination free, the city can move forward for development.

In addition to a skate park on the east side of Fifth Street, a small residential area, coffee shop and other businesses are among the ideas Thomas has for the multi-use area.

"The land improvements will also provide amenities for the neighborhood within walking distance, and provide an opportunity for economic development," Thomas said.

 

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