Credits Gov. Lujan Grisham’s Support for Advancing the Plan
(Santa Fe, NM) – Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales today announced that a proposed transfer of historic Fort Bayard property to the village of Santa Clara by the State of New Mexico is making strong progress during discussions he facilitated in Santa Fe. Since taking office in January, Morales has initiated a series of high-level meetings between State officials of the administration of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, which controls the Fort Bayard site, and key legislators and representatives of Grant County communities. Reversing years which saw no discernible State interest in cooperating on the annexation and redevelopment plan, Morales credited promising signs of a breakthrough to the support of the new Governor and her cabinet team.
“For many years the idea of transferring the Fort Bayard facilities to the Village of Santa Clara for annexation was stopped, despite the community’s frequent pleas to the State. Now we are seeing real progress to make the transfer a reality, and that is good news for residents of Grant County. There is so much future economic potential for Grant County if we make this project happen,” said Lt. Governor Howie Morales.
“If Santa Clara is given the opportunity to annex the historic fort and its surrounding grounds, the needed infrastructure upgrades can finally occur to make it a magnet for living heritage tourism and job creation, additional U.S. Forest Service facilities, and expansion of the VA national cemetery. The sky’s the limit. I am confident it’s going to happen, thanks in large measure to the leadership of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and her cabinet secretaries, who see the economic potential of pushing the proposal forward. This is the kind of material support rural New Mexico needs today,” added Morales.
“The General Services Department is grateful for the leadership of the Governor and Lt. Governor as we continue to work with the Mayor of the Village of Santa Clara on its request to ensure the successful transfer of the historic Fort Bayard property. The transfer will put the Village in a good position to modernize the facilities in the most cost-effective manner, so that the facilities can be leased by the Village to prospective bidders,” said Secretary of the State General Services Department, Ken Ortiz.
“The Village has been committed to the Fort Bayard restoration project for a long time, and we appreciate all the work of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and our legislators. Restoring and preserving the historically important Fort will be great for Grant County, and for the preservation of our state’s history. It has been a big, complicated project with many challenges, and I am glad it is coming near to completion,” said the Mayor of the Village of Santa Clara, Richard Bauch.
“The plan to annex and transfer a portion of Fort Bayard is a good move for everyone in the region. We appreciate the Lt. Governor for his leadership in bringing everyone to the table, and we are fully on board with this plan. We look forward to continued collaboration between our neighbors in the Village of Santa Clara and local communities,” said State Department of Health Secretary, Kathy Kunkel.
“I want to recognize the Village of Santa Clara for stepping forward with a strong business plan to make this project work. That was very important. Thank you to the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor for allowing this good project to move forward, and also for including me in the process,” said State Senator Gabriel Ramos (28 – D – Catron, Grant Socorro).
“The Village of Santa Clara continues to lead the efforts of restoring Fort Bayard, ultimately realizing its potential. Village leaders have developed a workable business plan and have reached out to partners to help make that plan a reality. Even with no promise of future support from the state, the Village has devoted resources to help maintain and strengthen Fort Bayard,” said State Representative Rebecca Dow (R – District 38)
"I am thankful to the Governor, Lt. Governor and the Cabinet Secretaries for helping move things in the right direction. My personal meetings with each Secretary were very productive. This Fort Bayard property is very important to so many,” said State Representative Rudy Martinez (D - District 39)
“I am excited about all the entities who came together to collaborate successfully on this project. One important way we can help the residents of Grant County and our state is to diversify our economy, and the Fort Bayard project will do that. This collaboration will bring needed additional revenues to Grant County,” said Priscilla Lucero, Director of the Southwest Council of Governments.