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Full closure of 20th Street Phase IV to begin Sept. 5

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By REBECCA HAUSCHILD for the Daily Press

The 20th Street Reconstruction Project is preparing to move into its final month.

Infrastructure Director Byron Landfair reported on Phase IV during Tuesday’s meeting of the Artesia City Council. The city will be shutting down the full portion of the current construction zone — from just north of Grand Avenue to Main Street — today for a sewer tie-in, but the phase will be fully closed for 30 days starting on Sept. 5.

Since Phase IV began, the southbound lane between Main and Grand has remained open to through traffic, but traffic in both directions will be closed from Sept. 5 through the completion of the project. Crews will be working on paving the new section.

During the full closure, Pizza Hut can be accessed from West Main Street of West Quay Avenue, Superior Car Wash can be accessed from West Quay Avenue, and Fenn’s Country Market can be accessed from West Main for both east- and westbound traffic.

In other business Tuesday, the council approved the partial vacation of a right-of-way at 811 W. Main St. and 812 W. Quay Ave. The vacation was requested by Laura Lee Coker of Touch Down Barbeque, LLC, so the drive-through portion of their restaurant can be entirely on their property and the resident can park an RV outside of the right-of-way.

Director of Community Development Jim McGuire reported the first Comprehensive Plan public meeting was held Aug. 16 and 115 people have already completed the community survey. All city residents are encouraged to take the survey, which is detailed in a separate article on this page.

Landfair reported the old National Guard Armory buildings on Grand Avenue are coming down. The old metal gun shed has been torn down, and the one in front is about 50 percent down. McGuire also explained the upcoming changes to the zoning of the National Guard Armory site.

The site is currently zoned R1B and the city plans to change it to SU1 (Special Use district), which allows for lighter commercial use such as retail, banks, offices, clinics, as well as single- or multi-family residential. The zoning change will be addressed at the September Infrastructure Committee meeting.

The Artesia Fire Department reported that Cortex Gas Diamond Shamrock had notified them that they need to replace valves on their storage LPG tank in Artesia. The department will go over the site plan with them and has advised them to follow everything in the IFC. The fire department has asked them to burn off the vapors only during daylight hours which will take about two-and-a-half days.

The AFD also reported they had finished the first week of fire drills at all Artesia schools. Every Artesia school completes a fire drill every week for the first four weeks. Hydrant testing will be coming up in September/October.

A weeklong Insurance Service Office (ISO) inspection is also coming up soon for the AFD. The ISO is in New Jersey but has inspectors from the Public Safety section in Albuquerque that will be here. The AFD reported the ISO inspection includes everything from dispatch circuits to training records, to truck inspections, recording of primary and secondary dispatch channels, dispatcher training, dispatcher staffing, inspection of every facility, and responses time from the call to first truck arriving.

They examine all training records, staffing levels, water supply, hydrant testing records, community risk reduction plans, including building inspections and fire preplanning in area buildings, school education, and much more.

The council also granted the use of Jaycee Park from 4-10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, to the Artesia Cross Country Boosters for the inaugural Nightmare in Artesia 5k.

As part of its consent agenda the Council approved the Joint Powers Agreement for the provision of school resource officer in the Artesia Public Schools.

As part of its consent agenda, the council also granted permission for:

• the hiring of Scott Moter, IT administrator, at a pay rate of $5,231.71 per month; Justin Benavidez, water technician, $2,920.67 per month; Brenda Pitzer, custodian, $2,600 per month; Calros Bustamante, Mechanic II, $3,588 per month; and Jordan Barwick, firefighter/AEMT, $5,029.70 per month.

• the resignation of Shawn Chazerreta, Commission on Aging van driver, effective Aug. 7.

• one finance employee to attend N.M. Edge Hone classes online.

• one finance employee to attend the Government Social Media Conference in Palm Springs, Calif.

• one solid waste employee to attend the N.M. Recycling and Solid Waste Conference in Albuquerque.

• three police employees to attend the N.M. Property and Evidence Tech Conference in Albuquerque.

• one police employee to attend the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program in Las Cruces.

• one executive employee to attend the N.M. Property and Evidence Tech Conference in Albuquerque.

• one executive employee to attend the Government Social Media Conference in Palm Springs, Calif.

• infrastructure employees to attend the 24th Annual N.M. Infrastructure Finance Conference in Las Cruces.

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