The city of Truth or Consequences’ bid to sell 6.2 acres of land to a state agency for the construction of one of two Spaceport America welcome centers was declared invalid last week because municipal officials did not disclose decades-old federal restrictions on the use of the land.
The city and two groups that protested the city’s winning bid have until noon Sept. 4 to file briefs on the dispute with state Economic Development Department’s general counsel, Wade Jackson….
But the losing bidders filed protests, arguing that when the federal government transferred the land to the city in 1936, a deed restriction required the land to be used for recreational purposes or a golf course. If the land is not used for those purposes, the restriction said, the property would revert to the federal government. The city claims the restriction expired in 1984, based on correspondence from a regional BLM official, but one protester’s attorney said the opinion carries no weight.
Jackson, in an initial decision on the protests dated Aug. 21, said the restriction made the land sale to the Spaceport Authority “impossible.” In addition, Jackson added, the city essentially failed to meet the bid requirements by failing to disclose the issue.
Welcome centers will be built in both Truth or Consequences and Hatch. Visitors will gather there to be bussed to the spaceport for tours.
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