City Attorney AJ Salazar and Grants Manager Diahann Jacquez present the resolution to terminate the grant for development of the Hunter Arts And Agricultural Complex. Photo by Arin McKenna/Valley Daily Post
Council Votes To Terminate Grant For Hunter Arts And Agricultural Complex
By Arin McKenna
The Española City Council voted 7 – 1 to terminate the $1,400,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) for development of the Hunter Arts and Agricultural Complex in the Hunter Ford building, 505 Paseo de Oñate.
Councilor John Ramon Vigil recused himself because Chicanos Por La Causa New Mexico (CPLCNM), the city’s partner in the grant application, is a major shareholder in the company that employs him.
CPLCNM notified the council in March that the estimate for developing the property had exceeded $8 million dollars, nearly double the original estimate. CPLCNM representatives suggested three options: sell the property to CPLCNM so they could pursue commercial debt to develop the property, the City of Española could take over the project or the city and CPLCNM could request termination of the grant “for convenience,” a no fault means of declining the grant moneys.
Since it was determined that the project is no longer financially viable nor economically sustainable, council chose the third option. Councilors voiced support for pursuing other options to develop the Hunter Ford site but recognized that using the grant money by Sept. 25, 2020 (the deadline for spending the funds) would not be feasible.
“There’s so much opportunity there,” said Councilor Manny Martinez. “I see the potential with tis council, we can do something with this property and actually get something going…I see one door closing, but who knows how many are going to be opening.”
Terminating for convenience leaves both the city and CPLCM in good standing with the EDA, allowing either entity to reapply for that grant or other grants in the future.
Councilors advocated for a Worksession to discuss options for developing the property.
Council also voted unanimously to approve submission of an application to the Department of Finance and Administration to participate in the juvenile adjudication program, a grant program that funds alternative procedures of adjudication for juveniles charged with traffic offenses and other misdemeanors.;
Municipal Judge Stephen Salazar and Grants Manager Diahann Jacquez present a resolution to apply for grant funding for the juvenile adjudication program. Photo by Arin McKenna/Valley Daily Post