Las Cruces Sun News Article By Steve Ramirez / firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally posted at www.lcsun-news.com Posted: 03/16/2013 08:12:12 PM MDT
LAS CRUCES — Conceptual plans for the proposed development of the 110 acres that used to the be the Las Cruces Country Club were disclosed Tuesday to 10 members of People for a Premier Park, a grassroots organization that has lobbied city officials to keep the property as prime green space.
“We’ve had five meetings already to come to this point,” said Las Cruces developer Robert Pofahl, who is working with a still unnamed group of investors who conditionally purchased the Las Cruces Country Club property in early November. “This site will be great for economic development — good economic development that can go back to the neighborhood.”
Ambitious plans for the property are being refined through the meetings Pofahl has had. The in-fill project could include the development of a medical center, an assisted living center, a small office park, a hotel, a retail center, a plaza, multi-family housing, townhouses, a charter school, and a walking path around the development.
“The idea is to bring quality development back to the core of the city,” Pofahl said. “Part of this would bring good jobs back to the core of Las Cruces.”
There is also a proposal to realign Madrid Avenue through a portion of city-owned Apodaca Park, which is just southwest of the old country club golf course. Pofahl said city officials have been considering options to continuously link Madrid, from Triviz Drive west to Main Street.
“I believe that, according to city statistics, Madrid
and Solano is the second worst intersection for accidents,” Pofahl said.
The concept was met with mixed reactions from some residents who attended Tuesday’s meeting.
“Your design is very nice, but it still takes away 110 acres for a park,” said Tamie Smith, to Pofahl. “The city owns a lot of land, the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) owns a lot of land. Has anyone discussed the possibilities of making a trade for land? Would you even consider it?”
Connie Potter, who lives in the country club neighborhood, encouraged Pofahl and other investors to consider developing the country club property much like Centennial Lake Park, in Edina, Minn. It is a 24-acre park and pond that includes more than 1.5 miles of paved pathways that meander around a 10-acre lake.
“This is going to be the largest non-conforming use in Las Cruces history,” said Potter, of plans for the country club property. “This is something not to rush into. … Care needs to be taken so it blends, rather than make the rest of the neighborhood outdated.”
Potter is also concerned an excess of new home construction could reduce the value of existing homes in the neighborhood.
But Pofahl emphasized a project goal is to enhance the value of that area.
“We want to see a resurgence of the country club neighborhood,” Pofahl said. “It would be our hope this would help improve the value of existing homes. …These types of developments have proven to re-energize neighborhoods.”
John Stephens, an organizer of People for a Premier Park, said he hopes the meetings, and conversations, between concerned residents and the developers can lead to the incorporation of concepts similar to those used at Centennial Lake Park.
“This was a good meeting, with a lot of input of what we want,” said Stephens, whose home is adjacent to the old country club property. “We hope to convince them to incorporate some of the amenities at Centennial Lake Park, and so far they seem to be interested in listening to us. We hope to get the city (officials) behind us, too.”
Steve Ramirez can be reached at 575-541-5452. Follow him on Twitter @SteveRamirez6
— The 110-acre former Las Cruces Country Club property could become a development known as Park Ridge.
— The property could include: a medical center, a combination assisted living center and rehabilitation hospital, a small office park, a hotel, pad sites for restaurants, a retail center, a plaza, multi-family housing, townhouses, a charter school, linear parks and a walking path around the development.
— A portion of Madrid Avenue might be diverted across a portion of Apodaca Park.
— The Las Cruces Country Club property was sold in November to still unnamed local and regional investors, but the sale is contingent upon developers being able to get the property rezoned.