City, county closer to selection of new 911 center site
LAS CRUCES, Dec 06, 2012 (Las Cruces Sun-News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Local officials moved a step closer Wednesday toward picking a site for a much-needed new 911 center in Dona Ana County.
A parcel of land off Avenida de Mesilla, just west of Interstate 10, was recommended Wednesday for the location of a new city-county emergency dispatch center.
Consultant architect Steve Newby of Las Cruces said the location, a 5.25-acre former RV park, scored the highest when ranked. They evaluated each of the seven sites in the running on a number of criteria, such as whether it was in reach of the center's radio tower, didn't exist in a flooplain and had room for future expansion.
About 40 sites in total were first examined. Newby said the goal was to be as objective as possible.
Dona Ana County Commissioner Scott Krahling said the challenge, once a site is selected, will be finding the money to pay for it.
"No set pool of funding is available yet," he said.
Some Las Cruces city councilors and county commissioners have been at odds over the location. City officials had wanted the jointly managed center to be located on an East Mesa public safety campus under work at the city. Some commissioners, meanwhile, had advocated it be placed next to the county government center, 845 N. Motel Blvd. on land that's already owned by the county.
Newby presented the rankings in advance of a joint meeting Thursday of city councilors and county commissioners.
Of the seven sites, two were next to the government center and a third
was the city's proposed safety campus. Four sites are privately owned:
-- the former RV park
-- a parcel at the corner of Lohman Avenue and Sonoma Ranch Boulevard
-- a parcel at Sonoma Ranch Boulevard near Dona Ana Community College's East Mesa campus
--and a parcel at Sonoma Ranch Boulevard and Thurmond Road.
The governing board of the group, called the Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority, also will meet at 10 a.m. Monday. The board will vote on its top choice. Its recommendation will be sent to the County Commission on Tuesday.
Newby said the preliminary ranking isn't settled yet because his firm hadn't yet received all the information it needed from utilities companies about underground lines. The farther utilities are from the eventual site, officials said, the more expensive it will be.
The 911 call center board heard from Newby during a Wednesday morning at the downtown Las Cruces dispatch center, an aging building that officials agree is in need of upgrading. The new 911 building will be constructed in two phases, once money is available officials said.
Resident Ron Camunez, who previously served on a task force about the 911 center, said he doesn't like that idea of phases.
"It seems to me we need to look at this and see how we can do it all at one time," he said.
Diana Alba Soular can be reached at (575) 541-5443; follow her on Twitter @AlbaSoular
If you go
What: City-county joint meeting
When: 1 p.m. Thursday
Where: Dona Ana County Government Center, 845 N. Motel Blvd., Las Cruces
If you go
What: 911 call center board meeting
When: 9 a.m. Monday
Where: Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority board room, 130 W. Lohman Ave., Las Cruces
Source: Dona Ana County
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