Two commissioners vote against accepting the bid

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AZTEC — The City Commission voted 3-2 Tuesday to accept a bid of almost $100,000 to Tamerrel Excavation Inc. to start phase 0 of the North Main Avenue Corridor project.

The project calls for the installation of a pedestrian-friendly plaza and marketplace at the location where North Main Avenue currently ends in an empty field with a dirt road leading to a bridge across the Animas River. The project would connect downtown to Aztec Ruins National Monument.

Phase 0 will consist of creating a detention pond and bringing in fill dirt to elevate the roadway to the level required for the construction of a transit stop and the plaza, which will be part of phase 1.

The funding for phase 1 of the project comes partially from a Federal Transit Authority grant of $319,000, according to Kathy Lamb, the city finance director. The city must complete phase 0 of the project before moving on to phase 1.

Commissioners Katee McClure and Roberta Locke voted against accepting a bid. The commissioners favored postponing the acceptance of the bid until they could learn the deadline for using the FTA grant money.

That concern stems from the cost of cleaning up after the Aug. 26 flood and performing hydrologic studies to prevent future flooding.

“To me, the flood thing is just the most important,” McClure said.

William Homka, the community development director, said the city has received approximately 125 responses from residents reporting flood damage. After the flood, the city began distributing red door tags to individuals who could fill out the information reporting the damage they experienced and return it to City Hall. The city also set up an email address through which damage estimates could be submitted.

Homka said the reported damage to private property totals approximately $959,000.

Mayor Sally Burbridge cautioned against postponing the acceptance of the bid partially because of the city’s partners in the project.

“I feel like we also need to consider how long this project has been in the works and our partners,” she said.

Aztec partnered with the city of Farmington, as well as Aztec Ruins National Monument, to develop the North Main Corridor. The partners have expressed concern about the length of time it is taking to develop the project, City Manager Joshua Ray told commissioners.

"We've already delayed this and rebid this once," Burbridge said.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

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