The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Officials: Industrial park not forgotten


March 29, 2017

Courtesy graphic

This map shows areas of the Portales Industrial Park and what areas have potential to be developed for certain industries. Roosevelt County Community Development Corporation officials say the park is currently on the back burner but has not been forgotten.

PORTALES — Although the Portales Industrial Park has been placed on the back burner for the time being, it has by no means been forgotten, according to local economic development officials.

After completing an engineering study and master plan for the park in 2012, there has been silence from Roosevelt County Community Development Corporation officials on further developing the land, which lies southwest of Portales.

"One of the problems we had was we didn't know what land we owned. It's hard for a group like ours to say, 'well, we have these spaces or lots available,' because we really didn't know," said RCCDC board President Randy Knudson, who said the first step in remedying this problem was to hire Phillips Engineering, a company that prepared three steps for the master plan process for the park.

Knudson said step one entailed drafting the engineering plan and step two entailed physically staking portions of the industrial park.

"Step three would be for the development; step three would include actually going in and trying to build roads," Knudson said.

But doing so before industries show interest is not viable, according to Knudson and RCCDC Executive Director Orlando Ortega.

Ortega said constructing utilities and roads for potential industry sites in the park could range from hundreds of thousands of dollars to beyond $7 million.

"Do you build it and hope they come or do you build it as the need arises?" Ortega said. "We have needs everywhere. Our approach today is somewhat different than the approach was with my predecessor and the predecessors before that. The board changes their scope and vision every few years and adjusts to where we are today."

Knudson said many might be surprised at how often industries take an interest in the park. Most visits aren't announced because for one reason or another, many of them end up not actually settling in Portales.

Although the park is still very important and Ortega still pursues industries for it, Knudson said, other economic development has had to take priority over it in recent years. Those priorities have included Portales Inn redevelopment, obtaining the lease for the old movie theater property so a company would invest in it and one of the more recent focuses - a senior housing community.

Ortega said RCCDC did a study regarding the need for senior living in Portales, and the study showed that a strong need for it exists.

Ortega said RCCDC board members and officials have been discussing the prospect with RGH board members and former RGH CEO Larry Leaming, who recently retired.

"What everyone envisions is a community that is adjacent to the hospital (which owns 29 acres of land around it)," he said.

Residents of the community would co-exist with the hospital, so they can just walk over to the hospital to have their medical needs taken care of, he said, adding that he has already talked to several companies involved with senior living regarding the need.

"We're seeing a lot of interest from companies and they're seeing it as a viable project," Ortega said.

Now it is just a matter of letting the new CEO of the hospital begin her work and get her footing before starting the conversation up again.

But, Knudson said he hopes it can begin to come to fruition sometime in the near future.

"It's a real need now. There are several of us that are really interested in trying to move this forward, but it's going to be a big project," he said.

And as for the industrial park, the RCCDC isn't giving up on one day bringing more industry into it.

"Now we at least have some kind of an idea how to place industry, what we would be able to offer them, where we would start trying to have roads constructed and things of that nature," Knudson said. "Our goal is to try to make Portales a better place and to bring in jobs. "This is the result of where we are today, and to move forward is going to take a lot of money, and I don't know that we will move forward until we have industries coming."


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