The City of Carlsbad will fund the replacement of aging cooling and heating infrastructure at the Riverwalk Recreation, said the director of Municipal Services and Capital Projects.
Angie Barrios-Testa said the New Mexico Legislature appropriated $750,000 earlier this year for a new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit for the 45,000 square foot facility located at 400 Riverside Drive.
The Carlsbad City Council approved the grant administered by the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration (NMFDA) during its Aug. 23 meeting.
She said the current water evaporation cooling system and cabinet unit heaters were installed in 1993 and 1994.
“They are at the end of their useful life and it is no longer sufficient for the use of the facility,” Barrios-Testa said.
“The plan and design are anticipated to take approximately three months. It will be designed in at least two phases. The City anticipates construction and installation of phase one to begin in the spring of 2023,” she added.
City of Carlsbad spokesperson Kyle Marksteiner said the building which currently houses the Riverwalk Recreation Center functioned in its past as a power station, a even the location of the Boys and Girls Club.
Barrios-Testa said the City of Carlsbad began renovations in the early 1990s to convert it into the recreation center.
“It is the only indoor facility for family recreation (in Carlsbad) (the) facility is used extensively throughout the year, especially after school, and on weekends,” she said.
Keep Carlsbad Beautiful Director Mary Garwood has utilized the Riverwalk Recreation Center for business and pleasure during her 32 years as a Carlsbad resident.
She said the Center served as a gathering point for years for the spring Riverblitz Pecos River cleanup.
“It serves as the perfect location for registration, supply pickup, and happy to say feeding the volunteers which we are bringing back for 2023. It has space for a crowd, restrooms, and is perfectly located on the river so it’s easily accessible for the event,” Garwood said.
She said the new HVAC unit would produce a comfortable environment for year-round recreation center activities.
“When Riverblitz is held, we can expect a climate appropriate for relaxing and wrapping up when the event concludes,” Garwood said.
Riverwalk Center summer usage increased from 2021
City of Carlsbad data indicated 6,643 people used services provided at the Center from May to July of this year versus 4,771 during the same time frame in 2021.
Barrios-Testa said hours were modified at the Riverwalk Recreation Center during the summer of 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic closures and staff shortages.
“The Riverwalk Recreation Center was only open until 6 p.m. and closed on Sundays during that time period,” she said.
Barrios-Testa said the City of Carlsbad resumed pre-pandemic hours in December of 2021.
“We are pleased to see the numbers rising. This tells us that citizens are eager to get out and participate in many of the planned events that the Riverwalk Recreation Center provides, and they are participating in open recreations daily,” she said.
With apparent increased usage, Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway a new HVAC unit was long overdue for the Riverwalk Recreation Center.
“The City is so fortunate to have this excellent facility and an excellent staff to run it. (An up-to-date unit) will make this facility much more comfortable for everyone participating in the center’s numerous programs and activities,” he said.