Council OKs next step on water-related projects

Hannah Grover
The Rocky Reach Terrace is pictured Wednesday along the Animas River in Farmington. City officials are hoping to land a grant to make improvements along the river.

FARMINGTON – The City Council gave the go-ahead for the next step in two water-related projects Tuesday evening during its regular meeting.

The projects included the Villa View Detention Ponds, which are designed to help mitigate flood waters, and Animas River improvements that would provide improved fish habitat and decrease sediment.

The city approved a bid from Bohannan Huston Inc. of Albuquerque to design plans for the detention ponds project. The state Legislature allotted the city $550,000 in capital outlay funding for the project in its recently concluded session. It was the second year in a row the project has received capital outlay funding. In 2015, the Legislature allocated $700,000 to the city for the project.

David Sypher, the city public works director, said after the council meeting that the city estimates the entire project will cost about $2.2 million.

"We're about $1 million short," said Mayor Tommy Roberts after the meeting.

Roberts said the city is still looking for more funding and will likely include the Villa View Detention Ponds in its requests for capital outlay funding next year, as well.

The ponds could help mitigate future flooding in northeast Farmington, including along East Main Street.

The city has identified several problem areas where water pools and floods properties. It plans to address the issues by building a series of detention ponds, expanding and improving the storm drain network, reconstructing an already existing concrete rundown from Hill-N-Dale Drive to Country Club Elementary School, and other mitigation efforts.

Sypher said the goal is to break the project into phases that will get started over the next three years. He said this year the city is focusing on design and land acquisition now.

City officials are seeking a grant to improve aquatic habitat and decrease sediment in the Animas River in Farmington.

In addition to the detention ponds, city councilors unanimously approved submitting a request for a proposal for funds from the New Mexico River Stewardship Program. The deadline for submissions is March 3, and the city hopes to secure funding for water quality and habitat improvements along the the Animas River..

The city is requesting $250,000 for the the Animas at Rock Garden River Restoration Project. The project will involve creating in-stream structures like habitat rocks, cross vanes and rock deflectors that could help increase aquatic life and bank stability.

The project aims to create a more healthy river system with less sediment deposited on the bottom and to flush the deposits from mine spills, such as the Gold King Mine spill, out of the river.

The Animas River flows past the Rocky Reach Terrace Wednesday near Berg Park in Farmington.

"I think that's a very worthwhile project," Roberts said after the meeting, adding that it aligns with the city's plans for development along the river.

The council also approved a bid to construct safety improvements at the intersection of San Juan Boulevard and Scott Avenue. The city will pay MWI Inc. a little more than $500,000 to install new traffic lights and curb ramps that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as other safety improvements.

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