Alamogordo Mayor Susan Payne Speaks on Closed Fun Center
On Friday November 30th, 2023 AlamogordoTownNews.com and KRAZY KALH radio broke the news of the permanent closure of the Alamogordo Fun Centers operations under contract with Downtown Venture Corporation of California. Mayor Susan Payne reacts to the story that was launched as a result of a post of the Alamogordo Fun Centers social media page via a statement that may be listened to at:
AlamogordoTownNews.com verified the validity of the post with the business leadership and the story detailed the investment by the City of Alamogordo and the state of New Mexico to bring to facility into operation via government bonds and city and state LEDA loans.
The city of Alamogordo owns the facility. It was built and funded using taxpayer money as a facility meant for family entertainment and partially funded by a bond measure passed by the voters.
At the time of the vote Mayor Susan Payne was not a member of the commission nor mayor. In a statement today with KRAZY KALH radio’s Anthony Lucero Mayor Payne said that the city “was NOT notified via official channels of the company closing the facility” and withdrawing from the business arrangement until the city leadership read it via social media and via our reporting
The notice of closure posted to social media was the first public statement by the corporation they were withdrawing from the Alamogordo market. By failing to notify the city of Alamogordo in advance “was disappointing” per Mayor Payne.
How the notification was handled by the corporation leasing and operating the facility, may have breached contract terms with the city and state.
Typical to these arrangements; a notice of withdrawal or default is required and usually a notice of 60 days prior to closing is required. The notice via social media, without prior written notice to the city, may have created a legal issue which could potentially lead to litigation or a settlement in some form due to the city and taxpayers of Alamogordo to be paid by the company.
The business may be on the hook for a partial repayment of loaned funds and may have breached agreements in place with the city.
Mayor Payne asked in a statement for patience as the city sorts out the issue, reviews the contracts and seeks new partnership’s to operate the property going forward.
After our story ran Friday morning, we witnessed a huge rise in comments expressing concern, disappointment and outrage with the facility and how it was being managed.
A recent customer of the facility from a week ago mentioned of the 24 bowling lanes eligible to use on 7 were operational. Staffing was a problem and there was much discussion around mismanagement, poor operations and potential misconduct. There were many comments on poor operations, poor staffing and price gouging of a property owned by the city but managed by a private business.
The mayor promised transparency in the go forward discussions and plans for the facility with a commitment come point to get it back operating.
Further research is pending by AlamogordoTownNews.com with us, seeking answers to multiple questions raised around contract details, compliance to contract terms, what oversight does the city have in place given the level of concerns by the public? Did the city know the business was on the brink of collapse locally and considering a withdrawal? What financial obligations remain to the contractor and to the city. It sounds as if the facility has structural issues and significant maintenance issues who is on the line to repair those issues the departing contractor or the taxpayers of Alamogordo?
The development of this protect along with infrastructure, roadways for safer travel for families and continued care of the property has been an investment of several million dollars of taxpayer money.
Former City Commissioner, Al Hernandez was on the commission representing District 5, prior to Sharon McDonald assuming the district as representative. The vote to approve the project was made during his tenure and he suggested in a social media post that he had many questions and significant reservations about funding the Fun Center venture.
Mayor Payne also mentioned in her interview today that she was not an elected official at the time the contract was signed. She said she was against the agreement and taxpayer funding of the project, but the city owns the project and the property and they will get clarity on next steps to get it back open to the public as soon as possible and with transparency.
Stay tuned in upcoming weeks and months; as this project story develops, due to the millions invested, may have some potentially interesting discoveries and fallout from public outcry and dissatisfaction.
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