Local entities seek state capital outlay cash for projects like park improvements, roads

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
The City of Farmington has asked for $5 million for infrastructure at Lake Farmington, seen here on Feb. 12.

AZTEC — From infrastructure at Lake Farmington to negative pressure isolation rooms at San Juan Regional Medical Center, local entities have a variety of projects they hope will receive states funds through the capital outlay process.

Legislators had until 3 p.m. Feb. 12 to submit projects for capital outlay funds based on the requests made by local government entities. 

Here is a look at some of the San Juan County projects submitted this year.

City of Farmington includes three large requests

The largest request from San Juan County entities this year is $25.5 million for the Piñon Hills Boulevard Extension Project, which would connect east Farmington with Crouch Mesa. In an email, Farmington spokeswoman Georgette Allen said the project remains a top priority for the city as well as San Juan County, which is partnering with Farmington to complete the connection.

Farmington has three large funding requests that it has submitted this year. This includes infrastructure development at Lake Farmington and the construction of an all-abilities park. Farmington is asking for $2.65 million for the all-abilities park and $5 million for the lake infrastructure.

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The largest capital outlay request in San Juan County was $25.5 million for the Pinon Hills Boulevard Expansion.

"Quality of life for our citizens continues to be a top priority for the City of Farmington," Allen stated in the email. "Constructing infrastructure, such as sewer and water lines in addition to paving roads around Lake Farmington is the first step toward potentially bringing additional amenities to this popular recreational site." 

However, those making the requests for Farmington and the other local government entities understand that funds are limited this year in terms of capital outlay. 

"The City has submitted five smaller projects to our local legislative delegation for consideration which includes the purchase of police vehicles, a Lake Farmington response unit, renovations to Lions Pool, Broadway Bridge repairs, and security cameras for downtown and riverwalk," Allen said.

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Recreation continues to be a focus

Recreation is a focus for multiple entities that have submitted funding requests, including San Juan County. The county has asked for $200,000 for improvements at Jackson Lake, located off of New Mexico Highway 170, also called the La Plata Highway. Meanwhile, Navajo Lake State Park has asked for $500,000 to help with some improvements including access to campsites.

San Juan Regional Medical Center seeks upgrades to help prevent spread of pathogens

San Juan Regional Medical Center has asked for capital outlay funding to help prevent the spread of airborne pathogens.

The requests made on behalf of San Juan Regional Medical Center were mainly focused on pandemic response. This includes $60,000 for ultraviolet lights in one section of the hospital to help with disinfection as well as $270,000 to turn some of the patient rooms into negative pressure isolation rooms, which can prevent the spread of airborne pathogens.

San Juan Regional Medical Center Spokeswoman Laura Werbner said the safety and prevention of illness for both patients and caregivers is a key priority for the hospital.

"We are taking several important steps to reduce the likelihood of transmission of highly contagious respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19 via aerosols," she said in an email. "We have been utilizing UV technology for 8 years now to kill viruses and bacteria through our two Tru-D SmartUVC germ-eliminating UV disinfection robots."

The funding the medical center has requested would allow it to add ultraviolet lighting directly to the air distribution systems in the respiratory care units and operating room. Werbner said that will increase the ability "to quickly, safely and effectively produce UV-C energy to kill or inactivate harmful microorganisms."

Additionally, the medical center has asked for funds to add negative pressure to between seven and 10 additional patient rooms. This will improve air quality and offer protection against exposure to air that could be contaminated with pathogens.

"While these improvements are helpful steps as we battle COVID-19, they will also help us prepare long-term for future respiratory illness events as they are the safest way to handle infectious disease," Werbner said.

Other requests

From an education perspective, Mosaic Academy is seeking $500,000 in funding to acquire land to construct a new facility. The Aztec charter school has been hoping to construct a new building to better serve the students who currently meet in portables.

The City of Bloomfield's largest request is $2.9 million for the East Blanco Boulevard project, which has been a top priority for the city for years.

Meanwhile, the City of Aztec asked for $2 million for the rehabilitation of reservoir one, which has been out of commission for more than two years.

Another one of the large requests is $7 million to construct a multi-purpose veteran's center in Shiprock. The Shiprock Chapter has also asked for $750,000 to build a tourism and visitors center.

Several chapters have asked for money to build multi-purpose buildings or senior centers. The Nageezi Chapter has asked for almost $2.2 million for a senior center and the Naschitti Chapter has asked for $4 million to construct a multi-purpose building. Meanwhile, the Red Valley Chapter has asked for more than $2.6 million for a multi-purpose building in the Mitten Rock area. The Tooh Haltsooi Chapter has asked for nearly $3.4 million to build a multi-purpose building.

A full list of funding requests can be found at nmlegis.gov.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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