The Socorro City Council may decide to demolish the already condemned motel on California Street.
Caitie Ihrig | El Defensor Chieftain


Mayor Ravi Bhasker’s administration is looking into the legality of bulldozing the vacant Sands Motel.

The motel is located on North California Street and owned by James Benjamin Rivera and AYS Defined Benefits. The city council voted to condemn the building on June 7 and conducted a public hearing on the condemnation in July.

According to previous coverage, Rivera attended the public hearing via telephone and said he would put up a chain link fence around the motel. He was also supposed to meet with city officials after the hearing to discuss a plan for moving forward and a timeline for renovations on the hotel. A fence has not gone up and Rivera missed the meeting with city officials.

In the most recent city council meeting, Bhasker said erecting a fence around the property would cost $22,000. Although bulldozing the property would not be much cheaper, he believed it would address the issues caused by the vacant motel.

If the city bulldozed the property, it would spend the money to demolish the building then put a lien against the property and hope to get the money back, said Bhasker. The city has previously demolished some houses on Padilla Street through the same mechanism and managed to get some but not all of the city funds back.

Police Chief Mike Winders said he believes the city should bulldoze the property instead of placing a fence around it.

“I’m afraid they’ll just keep cutting the fence. It won’t help anything in the long run,” Winders told the city council.

Cathy Cook, Editor, El Defensor Chieftain