Grants earmarked for street improvements, senior center

Argen Duncan

Elida and Portales have received grants for community projects.

Elida was awarded a Community Development Block Grant of $400,000 for a senior and community center, while $427,000 was earmarked for street and drainage improvements in the Bogard Addition of Portales.

Portales Capital Projects Manager Susan Baysinger said the West Gum Street from Avenue N to Avenue O, Avenue M from Ivy Street to Fir Street and West Ivy from Avenue K to Avenue N would have caliche subsurfaces and chip-seal surfaces replaced with double chip-seal subsurfaces and asphalt pavement. Workers are also to install curbs and gutters, handicap ramps and signs and striping as money is available.

City Manager Tom Howell said the city would put the project out for bid on a per-unit basis and redo as much as money allowed. Baysinger said the plans have already been drawn, but she won’t have an official timeline until the city receives and executes the grant agreement.

“Street and drainage projects are a priority in the Infrastructure and Capital Improvement Plan for the city,” Baysinger said.

The city hasn’t rebuilt the streets in the project area for 20 years, and some street segments don’t have the curb and gutter needed for proper drainage, she said. The area also receives a lot of traffic since Avenue M and Ivy are primary routes to Lindsey-Steiner Elementary School.

“And all of these things greatly enhance the quality of life for people in the neighborhood as well as the children attending the new Lindsey-Steiner Elementary School,” Baysinger said.

In Elida, Town Clerk Sandra Monks said the planned center would be located north of Town Hall and would use the new parking installed on the town square. Elida has no community center, and the senior center is in an old church near Allsup’s, where children at events are in danger of running into U.S. 70.

Monks said the first phase, which the CDBG grant is paying for, would include a large meeting room and kitchen and restroom facilities that would accommodate future expansion. She hopes following phases would build game and craft rooms and space to replace the town’s aging library facility.

Town leaders don’t know the size of the facility because that will depend on construction costs, Monks said.

“We know what we want, but we don’t know what we can afford with $400,000,” she said.

Monks said the town needs to get environmental clearance before having the project designed. She expects that construction won’t start for at least six months.

“We do have the money, but we’re not ready to do it,” Monks said.

To get the land for the center, the city bought four lots, and Harold Herbert’s family, Viola Burke and Border Soil and Water Conservation donated land.

“It’s a community project,” Monks said.