BOSQUE FARMS — After a bit of back and forth, the village of Bosque Farms is on its way to owning the 3.7-acre property immediately north of its municipal complex on West Bosque Loop.
The former headquarters for the now defunct Living Cross Ambulance company recently came on the market, prompting Bosque Farms Mayor Russ Walkup to bring the idea of buying the property to the village council in September.
“This a rare opportunity to purchase property adjoining village property. The structures are solid. One building has a three-phase converter in it,” Walkup told councilors at the Sept. 15 meeting. “I think there is a lot of long-term potential.”
The mayor said he could envision a business incubator, housing for village law enforcement officers, a community garden, additional park space and more on the property.
“These are just ideas. I would like to have the community come forward with what they want,” he said.
At a special meeting on Oct. 6, the council unanimously approved the purchase of the property for $645,000, which will come out of the village’s reserve fund, which has a balance of $1.1 million. The original asking prices was $695,000
“That’s what it’s there for,” Walkup said of the reserve fund.
The online listing for the property indicates the main house is 4,921 square feet, and there are two office buildings — one is 1,160 square feet with a kitchen and bathroom, and one that is 370 square feet of office space — as well as two oversized garages, one for three cars and a second that can accommodate two vehicles.
During the October meeting, Councilor Tim Baughman said he had wanted to have an electrician inspect the structures, and felt steps needed to be taken to address drainage issues with the second-story deck.
“I don’t want to discount the value of the existing structures but, keeping in mind, the bottom line that the value is in the land, if we have to tear down and start over, we’ll always have the base value of the land, which is about $500,000,” Baughman.
The village’s code enforcement division director, Michael Montoya, said he toured the property prior to the September meeting.
“I can’t really speak to the possible plans for the property, but I can speak to the things I do know — construction and planning and zoning,” Montoya said. “I know it’s really ugly on the outside but it’s a sound building. It needs work, but it has a lot of potential.
“My opinion is, the property will never come up (for sale) again.”
From a planning and zoning perspective, Montoya said he could foresee some issues if a private individual purchased the property, since it has three buildings with living quarters.
“Currently, it’s a special use (zone) but once it changes hands, it becomes agriculture property with four or five residences and a lot of storage,” he said. “It has the potential to be bad and has potential to be good.”
Melissa Velasquez, the village clerk/administrator, said uses of the property could be incorporated into the village’s master plan, which is currently being revamped.
“I think this very much needs to be incorporated into the master plan and allow the steering committee and residents to have a say in what it should be,” Velasquez said. “I don’t think it should only come from the village and staff. Personally, I like this to come more from the community to benefit the community.”
Two former village mayors — Sharon Eastman and Wayne Ake — both supported the purchase.
“I think you should go for it,” Eastman said. “I think it’s a super idea and will never come down the pike again. Things are fine right now but the village in the future will want to expand — a community garden, a ball field, maybe a museum. There’s an endless amount of potential.”
Village resident Ron Keller suggested the village look at the Great American Outdoors Act as a source of funding for projects and noted the state has a new outdoor recreation department that might also be of use.
Walkup noted development and use of the property was a long-term project of the village.
“I want to stress this is something we start here so that it can be continued in the next cycle of who ever sits here,” the mayor said.
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.