EUNICE — Traffic safety will likely improve in Eunice soon, thanks to the observation and subsequent work of the Eunice Youth Advisory Council.
The Youth Advisory Council consists of high school students appointed each year to advise the city council from a youth perspective.
Concerned about both pedestrian and vehicular safety, the Youth Advisory Council sent a letter to the New Mexico Department of Transportation, co-signed by Mayor Matt White, seeking help with intersections under the NMDOT’s control.
Meanwhile, they plan to meet with the city council soon to discuss several blocks of Main Street in downtown Eunice.
City Manager Marty Moore said, “In other words, the kids are getting involved in the downtown area and traffic safety. I’m pretty excited about that.”
Faded striping and lack of traffic control signage concern the youth, Moore explained.
“They’re concerned because people can’t see which way they’re supposed to be turning. They’re especially concerned about the intersection of Texas Avenue and Main Street because a lot of the striping and a lot of the road markings are either faded or completely worn out,” he said. “They noticed that people were turning different directions and they’re concerned about it, so they’re coming to the city council for the downtown portion that the city maintains.”
White also expressed excitement that the youth are becoming involved.
“This is an idea they came up with. That’s what we’ve got them for. We started (the Youth Advisory Council) four or five years ago. The idea was to get ideas from the younger generation,” White said. “The state is going to do their portion of the highway, repaint everything, maybe do some work on the sidewalk where we need some handicap ramps. I think it’s a great project.”
But the city is responsible for Main Street in the downtown area. “Once we rebuilt Main Street, we have to maintain it,” White said.
Sworn in by City Judge Glen Jenkins in September, the Youth Advisory Council consists of Oscar Martinez (President), Kaylee Epperson (Treasurer), Martin D. Moore (Vice President), Xitlaly Ontiveros, David Luevano, Jackelin Luevano (Secretary), Deyanira De La Garza and Kassady Hemmingson.
“They’ve actually got two projects this year,” White pointed out. “They’re working on the dog pound idea. The governor had vetoed that a couple of years ago, but she had asked them to bring it back.”
The city’s youth have urged the establishment of an animal shelter for several years, but costs have been prohibitive with the city seeking capital improvement funds from the state.
The Youth Advisory Council anticipates presenting that project to the state again during the 2018 session of the New Mexico State Legislature, Moore said.