Taos County commission green lights early childhood center, road paving

Courtesy photo

Richard Sanchez stands on Taos County land that has been designated to serve as a new cemetery for veterans. The cemetery went through final steps for commission approval and should see construction next year.

West Rim Road repairs, a new veterans cemetery and an agreement with University of New Mexico-Taos were all passed during Tuesday's (Nov. 19) regular Taos County Board of Commissioners meeting.

UNM agreement: The meeting began with the UNM-Taos memorandum of understanding to use the former Phil Lovato Senior Center once the Taos County Senior Program vacates the building. The senior program has been building a new center close to the existing one and plans to use that center by the end of the year. UNM-Taos has hopes of turning the existing center into the Taos Collaborative Learning Center.

This new direction would change the building into an early childhood learning center for Taos parents.

UNM-Taos would provide for the utilities, insurance and furnishings of the building while using the location for their early childhood development center.

"We're excited to be able to move into this next step," said UNM-Taos CEO Patrick Valdez. "We're excited about this opportunity to expand child care in the Taos area."

Veterans cemetery: The commission also passed the final step in a decadeslong effort to secure a new veterans cemetery in Ranchos de Taos.

"With good weather, in June or July, we should really get going with this project," said Taos County Manager Brent Jaramillo during the meeting.

The final contract with the architect for the cemetery has been signed and work will commence once winter is over.

The commission passed the motion with unanimous approval.

West Rim Road: Once the winter months have cleared, West Rim Road will also see some construction as the county passed a $700,000 project to repave the road. The agreement signed with the New Mexico Department of Transportation calls for the county to prepare all the steps needed before the state provides over $600,000 for the paving.

During his report, Jaramillo also said the county was looking at possibly repaving La Morada Road in Ranchos and hoped to move the road away from an existing cemetery nearby.

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