BLOOMFIELD — At a Bloomfield City Council meeting tonight, officials will hear an update on the installation of a new monument on the City Hall lawn.
The two-sided, stone monument will pay tribute to the Bill of Rights.
Kevin Mauzy, a former Bloomfield city councilor and organizer of the Four Corners Historical Monument Project, will update the council on his group's plans to add the new monument to the front lawn next month.
Mauzy last appeared before councilors in March to show landscaping changes to the lawn to make room for the new addition. Mauzy's monument project group is expected to pay for the cost of installing and maintaining the monument.
When he was elected to the council in 2004, Mauzy pitched the idea of turning the bare lawn in front of City Hall into a "public forum" for monuments to represent the law and government, as well as to beautify the city. His idea was unanimously approved, and the monument lawn was born.
Councilor DeLaws Lindsay made a motion at the March meeting to approve the changes to the lawn, and the measure passed unanimously.
Lindsay said Mauzy hopes to debut the monument at an official celebration in time for Independence Day.
"I think it's going to be awesome," Lindsay said. "It's going to have the Pledge of Allegiance and the Liberty Bell on the back. It will be two-sided stone."
In 2012, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico filed a lawsuit on behalf of two Bloomfield residents over another of Mauzy's monuments, which lists the Ten Commandments. The monument was erected on the City Hall lawn in 2011.
After three days of testimony in March, the case now awaits a final ruling by Judge James Parker of the U.S. District Court of New Mexico. He is expected to rule on the monument's constitutionality this summer or fall.
A sign posted on the City Hall lawn seeks to clarify the monuments' purpose and offers residents information on how to pursue installing a monument there.
It reads: "The city has intentionally opened the lawn around City Hall as a public forum where local citizens can display monuments that reflect the city's history of law and government. Any message contained on a monument does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the city, but are statements from private citizens. If you would like to display a monument in this forum, please contact the city clerk, who can give you a copy of the ordinance that explains the procedures for displaying a monument."
Lindsay is looking forward to the monument's installment, he said.
"Looks like it will be set in between, almost the middle, of everything," he said. "It looks like it's going to be another outstanding monument."
The lawn in front of City Hall also features a stone tribute to the Declaration of Independence, which was installed in 2011, and a monument displaying the text of President Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" carved in granite that was added on Independence Day in 2012.
James Fenton covers Aztec and Bloomfield for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4631 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @fentondt on Twitter.