Updated: Thursday, 24 Jun 2010, 3:03 PM MDT
Published : Tuesday, 22 Jun 2010, 10:00 PM MDT
SOCORRO COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) - Advertisements from the 1960s claimed the Rio Grande Estates subdivision was the most successful subdivision in the Southwest. Nowadays, residents said it is the subdivision Socorro County forgot.
The Rio Grande Estates consists of thousands of acres that stretch across Southern Valencia County and Northern Socorro County. It is estimated that hundreds of people live out in this extremely rural area that most would consider dry and desolate. Despite the slightly bleak surroundings, residents said their main concerns are street signs and road grating.
There are hundreds of dirt roads in this subdivision. Many of them are washboard, full of weeds and have plenty of dips and drop-offs. The county does grate some of the roads, but only the main roads on the bus routes. The county says often times, the roads lead to nowhere and it's just not financially feasible to grate all the roads.
"We can't maintain all the roads in Rio Grande Estates because it's not feasible," said county manager Delilah Walsh. " One: Those roads don't even go anywhere. Two: It's economically unfeasible. Seven-hundred roads in a county that's 6,000 square miles would be almost impossible for road crews."
No matter the reasoning, that mentality does not sit well with residents.
"They promised street signs, and they promised street maintenance as they could afford it, and they've done neither" said Sam James, who has lived in Rio Grande Estates for 17 years.
Since Socorro County will not put up street signs, residents have taken matters into their own hands. They put up their own signs.
"But the cows keep knocking into it, and knocking it on the ground. so I just gave up," said Annie Prouse who lives in the Rio Grande subdivision.
The residents do not want street signs for the cosmetics of the area, but for safety.
"The cops can't find us, the sheriff can't find us, the ambulance can't find us, nobody can find us," said Prouse who said she has helped flagged down lost emergency responders for her neighbors.
Socorro County deputies claim they are usually able to find a house on an emergency call.
"Nine out of 10 times we know exactly where [it is,]" said Deputy "Shorty" Vaiza.
The subdivision is not only ill-labeled and ill-maintained; it is also "illegal."
The Rio Grande Estates subdivision was developed before the subdivision laws of the 1970s took effect. The subdivision was grandfathered in, so the county does not have to provide services that the residents expect.
Residents said they will not accept this as the official "excuse." They plan to keep petitioning the county for street signs and road grating.