By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor
A petition to open a county road from N.M. 202 to County Line Road was presented Tuesday to Roosevelt County commissioners.
The petition seeks to have the county take over maintenance of the private road, which runs approximately three miles through the sandhills from N.M. 202 (Cacahuate Road) to County Line Road about six miles east of Portales.
Supporters said the road is needed due to growth in the area.
Commissioners have previously expressed reluctance to take the road unless it is rebuilt first.
The county’s portion of the road now extends only halfway to Grande Vida dairy from the north (County Line Road). The road was petitioned by a previous landowner to be closed and is privately maintained on its south portions.
Petitioner Mike Mitchell of Grande Vida Dairy, who narrowly escaped injury in a March tornado that destroyed his dairy, said there are a lot of farmers and ranchers in the area who would use the road if it were to become a county road.
The Mitchells approached the Commission about the road following the March tornado. Access into the dairy after the storm was poor and the dairy ended up moving many of the surviving cattle with cowboys on horseback to a nearby dairy, where they were loaded to be transported to a temporary location.
“We get probably 60-65 vehicles using the road each day,” said Josh Jorde, who lives in the area. “Right there in the last several years since we’ve swung open the gates, things have kinda boomed. Development is happening and things are rolling along.”
Mitchell’s wife, Cindy Mitchell, told commissioners several other dairies in the area, including Midway, Idsinga and Opportunity dairies, would also use the road.
“This idea that it’s solely for Mike and Cindy Mitchell is wrong,” Cindy Mitchell said.
The road lies in Commissioner David Sanders’ district.
“I told him (Mike Mitchell) we were going to have problems building it ourselves,” Sanders said. “I don’t have the money.
“I’m not going to fight you on the road,” Sanders later said. “I’m just saying get it fixed and we’ll accept it.”
The next step is for the county to place on the next agenda the appointment of three road viewers to assess the feasibility of the county accepting the road, according to County Manager Charlene Hardin. The group will give its recommendation to the Commission before a vote on the matter.
At that time, the Mitchells appealed to commissioners, saying they were concerned for the safety of their family and employees.