Starlit Night gets reduced rental for Civic Center

A veterans memorial in Moriarty is another step closer to reality, after a design team presented its concept to the city council last week.

Planners from Site Southwest told the council that its plans would cost “right around $200,000,” which was not a bid but “our best educated guess” on what the project would cost.

The memorial would be at the city park, in the grassy area near Broadway.

Comprised of panels in an arced shape, and with pathways that would integrate it into the existing park, the memorial would include brass plaques that mention area veterans by name.

Who would be named there was the question of some debate, with one question from the audience asking why Moriarty wasn’t building a memorial in Lake Arthur Park in Estancia, the county seat.

Moriarty has no authority to build in Estancia, but the question was raised about whether veterans named on the memorial would only be from Moriarty, or from the larger area, or as Councilor Dennis Shanfeldt asked, whether someone related to a current resident would qualify.

Each bronze plaque would cost $125, plus $150 for mounting hardware, according to Site Southwest.

The memorial would be “a great addition to the community and honor the folks that are the backbone of our community,” said Councilor Bobby Ortiz.

“We don’t want to limit it to just our area,” Mayor Ted Hart said.

“The community goes beyond the border of our city limits,” Ortiz said.

“I think we’d like to encompass as much as we can encompass,” said Councilor Steve Anaya, whose aunt, Sheri Anaya, originally conceived the idea of a veterans memorial in the park some years ago. “We’ve got a good starting point.”

In other business, a group of community members, including this reporter, asked the city council to approve a reduced rate for rental of the Moriarty Civic Center for an event in December called “Starlit Night and Bethel Express.”

Businesses in the community, including The Independent, came together last year for the first event, which provided a Christmas dinner and party, along with gifts and Christmas trees, to 13 area families facing circumstances beyond their control during the holiday season.

Conceived by Danny Strode, who owns Southwest Propane, the event last year fed some 250 people a free Christmas dinner, with leftovers going to Bethel Community Storehouse.

This year’s event will be held Dec. 10 at the Civic Center. Nominations are now being accepted for families who would be recipients. To get a nomination form, contact Southwest Propane at 505-407-2260, or The Independent at 505-286-1212. Or for ongoing information, visit the event’s page on Facebook.

The city council granted the reduced rate for renting the Moriarty Civic Center in exchange for help decorating Crossley Park. The state’s anti-donation clause means that the city can’t give anything of financial value to a private group without receiving equal value in return, according to the city’s attorney Adolfo Mendez.