The new mayor in Corrales plans to keep the last administration’s ball rolling.

Corrales Mayor Jim Fahey stands in front of the Old San Ysidro Church. Photo by Raiden Ruiz for the Village of Corrales (Instagram #villagecorrales)

Dr. James Fahey Jr. took office April 1.

“There were a number of projects started with the last administration, and we’re going to try to finish those and maybe add to some of them,” he said.


Fire suppression

Fahey is looking at a potential agreement with the Middle Rio Grande Conservation District that would allow Corrales to take over a drainage ditch MRGCD may no longer need. That move would be a chance to lay pipe for a fire suppression system along the drain.

“We don’t really have a fire suppression system at all,” he said. “We have sort of a modern-day bucket brigade.”

Without a system of hydrants, firefighters have to ferry water in with water-tender trucks, which can slow their work, if a blaze starts.

“When you think about what’s happening in Ruidoso; California; Boulder, Colo., it could be a disaster,” Fahey said, referring to the destructive wildfires in those areas.

Having a fire suppression system along the drain would help firefighters protect the bosque, a local school and Corrales’ commercial area.


Water (and sewer) works

Fahey hopes to install a sewer line at Priestly Place and Coroval Road, where homes are on quarter-acre lots, denser than the one- or two-acre lots standard in Corrales. Village homes use septic tanks and private water wells since there’s no municipal water and wastewater system, except for a limited septic tank effluent pumping system.

With denser development, Fahey said, residents and village officials are concerned septic tanks might contaminate the groundwater used for drinking.

He would also like to install a gravity-flow sewer line to connect with the existing system at Cabezon. Engineers say it’s workable.

“The issue is getting the pipe put in and the money for the pipe,” he said.

By the end of his term, Fahey hopes to have a sewer system in place and able to be gradually expanded.

Some residents worry that a sewer line will increase the density of residential development, but Fahey doesn’t think that will happen. The community will need to discuss how to work with senior citizens wanting to stay in the village but not able to maintain large lots any longer, he added.

He plans to redo the comprehensive plan, with residents’ input, to address that issue and others. Fahey hopes to finish that job early in his term to allow for future planning.


Working for recreation

At the Corrales Recreation Center, Fahey plans to build a regulation gym and locker room next to the facility, as well as renovating the smaller, old gym. The village had bond money for the project.

Near the center, the village owns the former Jones family property, with two barns that store public works equipment and materials. The vacant family home at the front of the property contains asbestos.

Fahey would like to demolish the house and replace it with a facility containing a black-box theater, classroom space, art galleries and maybe a commercial kitchen. The village has a conceptual plan but insufficient funds for the project.

The village is trying to move forward, but it’s hard to get consensus in the matter, he added.

There are nonprofits that demolish asbestos-containing buildings, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency might have hazardous-material mitigation grants, Fahey said. The village has money to use as matching funds to obtain a grant.

“It’s going to be a struggle,” Fahey said of the project. “It may not happen quickly.”

The village is also planning to resurface the administration building parking lot and improve the animal shelter.


Why he’s here

Fahey named prior mayor Jo Anne Roake, who didn’t run for re-election, as the reason he ran for office.

“She twisted my arm,” he said, adding that it’s difficult to stay in a mayoral seat long-term. “It can at times be very demanding in time, and patience.”

He doesn’t plan to run for re-election, either.

He’s impressed with the job Roake did, especially regarding employees.

“The talent we have working for the village now is just so good,” Fahey said.