Nate Duckett suggests zipline at lake, development of dirt lot

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FARMINGTON — Farmington Mayor Nate Duckett has asked the city staff to look at the feasibility of installing a zipline at Farmington Lake, replacing the grass at Ricketts Field with artificial turf, developing the dirt lot at the intersection of East 20th and Main streets, and retrofitting some city tennis courts to serve as pickleball courts.

Duckett brought up the four projects while discussing the budget for fiscal year 2019 during a City Council work session this morning. While he brought them up during the budget hearing portion of the meeting, he acknowledged that the four projects would likely be part of a fiscal year 2020 budget if the city chooses to pursue them.

“I want to (broach) this subject here at this budget meeting, and these are things we’ll carry on down the line when we start talking about strategic projects and things of that sort,” Duckett said.

He said a zipline could serve as an additional attraction for people to visit Farmington Lake.

“I think it would be huge,” he said.

Duckett said the artificial turf may have the potential of saving the city money on maintenance at Ricketts Field, which is home to the annual Connie Mack World Series, and would address complaints people have had about the field.

“We’ve got to do something to improve the playing surface,” he said.

Duckett said pickleball courts could be attractive for senior citizens who are considering moving to Farmington.

“Pickleball’s become a very attractive recreation outlet for our senior citizens,” he said.

Duckett described pickleball as a hybrid between tennis and table tennis that uses paddles and a whiffle ball. He said two pickleball courts could fit in a single tennis court.

The largest of the four projects Duckett asked the city to consider is the potential development of the dirt lot at the intersection of East 20th and Main streets. The lot attracts dozens of campaign signs each election season.

“It’s a blank canvas right now,” Duckett said.

He envisioned the development including river access, bicycling opportunities and a market area.

Today's gathering was the second recent City Council meeting that has included a budget hearing. The hearing focused on capital improvement projects, including streets and parks.

Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs director Cory Styron said the upcoming year will have some large projects for the parks department. Those projects include construction of the new aquatic center at Brookside Park and expanding the river trails system. Both projects are being funded by refinanced bonds.

Farmington residents also can expect to see several large construction projects. Two phases of the Foothills Drive Enhancement Project could begin in fiscal year 2019 and be completed in the fall of fiscal year 2020, according to Public Works director David Sypher. The city also will continue work on the 20th Street sidewalk improvements.

In other council news, the City Council approved spending $40,000 to help build a banquet room at No Worries Sports Bar and Grill. The city owns the restaurant building, which is located at the Four Corners Regional Airport. City Manager Rob Mayes said the city initially planned to have a banquet room there, but ran out of money during construction. He said the owners of No Worries — which contracts with the city to operate the airport restaurant — have agreed to pay half of the cost of building the banquet room. While No Worries will pay part of the cost, the entire facility will belong to the city.

The full meeting and documents related to the budget discussions can be viewed online at fmtn.org.

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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