Although the Village has been in negotiations for years to buy the three-acre Gonzales tract next to the bank, a different, lesser-known two-acre parcel next to the post office may be acquired as early as next month.
The vacant land adjacent to the post office’s property line would be used to relocate the Corrales Growers’ Market from the parking lot at the east end of the recreation center, Mayor Jim Fahey explained at the Nov. 15 Village Council meeting.
Referred to recently as “the Anderson parcel,” the property owned by the son of uranium mining executive Maxie Anderson caught the attention of Village officials and Growers’ Market organizers some time back.
The new site would offer more parking and greater public safety. Former Mayor Joann Roake considered buying it, Fahey said, but the offer was considered less attractive than the Gonzales tract because it has no water rights with it.
Fahey met with Growers’ Market representatives Bonnie and Al Gonzales on Nov. 14 to discuss the pending Anderson acreage. “They had already talked it over with their board. I think we’re going to try to work a plan to move the Growers’ Market to that facility since it is a much bigger area, has greater possibility for parking and public safety,” the mayor reported. “They think they can do a better job there, and overflow parking can go back to the old Growers’ Market area.”
Closing on acquisition of the Gonzales property, between Corrales Road and the Village’s 5.5-acre Juan Gonzales Bas Heritage Farm, has been anticipated for more than six months. Consistent public pressure to buy the land culminated in signing of a purchase agreement with Allan R. Gonzales on June 27, 2022. The Village will pay $858,415 using part of the nearly $5 million discovered unexpectedly two years ago in its account with the N.M. Local Government Investment Pool. The purchase price includes water rights.
Mayor Fahey told Corrales Comment on Nov. 14 that closing on the Gonzales tract continued to be delayed for lack of one of the sellers’ signature on the transaction. “We need one more person to sign off on it,” he said. “We don’t want anything to come back to burn us.”
Numerous Gonzales family members, descendants of the founder of Corrales, Capitán Juan Gonzales Bas, have a property interest in the tract. One of them, the late Hector Gonzales, steered negotiations with the Village that led to acquisition of the acreage.
As closing on purchase of the Gonzales frontage seemed probable by early next year, villagers turned their attention to possible uses. Initially, proponents envisioned the acreage as an arboretum; a better site for the Growers’ Market; a community garden; and a commercial kitchen.
But another rumored potential use raised hackles: a wastewater treatment plant. One of the leading advocates for purchase of the Gonzales tract, former Village Councillor Fred Hashimoto, told Corrales Comment he had heard part of the land was under consideration for a sewage treatment unit. “Locating a wastewater treatment station on the three acres would be a most inappropriate use of this most historic and valuable land in Corrales and an insult to the Gonzales family and the village.”
But that doesn’t seem to be what Mayor Fahey has in mind. In the Nov. 14 interview, the
mayor said he and other Village officials are thinking about installing a small membrane bioreactor wastewater treatment unit on existing municipal land, probably the Public Works Department space west of the post office.
“I think we could easily put it on the Public Works property, and perhaps even bury it
underground. We already have a liquids-only wastewater collection system, so we could clean that up and pump it to the rec center to irrigate the athletic fields —and maybe even pump it to the Bosque Preserve which really needs water.”
The mayor said the Village needs to do better about conserving its water. “You know, the Village has a 30 acre-foot water rights debt already.”
Also pending are decisions on how to use the Village-owned land just west of the post office where the home of Harvey and Annette Jones stands. For more than two years, the site has been considered for a performing arts center. The home is to be razed. It its place would be a multi-use space for theater, dance, music and other arts, roughly 15,000 square feet in size.
Earlier this month, a revised plan for the proposed arts space was submitted to the Village by the Albuquerque construction firm Facility Build led by Corrales resident Brian Kilcup. Mayor Fahey estimated the project would require at least $5 million, and no funding is yet available for it.
“We’re thinking of this as a ‘public-private partnership,’” that would likely include
the Adobe Theater which once had its home in Corrales. “The Adobe Theater wants to come to Corrales, and we really want them to come here,” he added, “but they are in a time crunch. They would have to be open here within three years.”
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