WASHINGTON, D.C. ― U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce Wednesday introduced H.R. 5721, The Village of Santa Clara Conveyance Act of 2018, to allow for the Village of Santa Clara to acquire land that was previously considered the Fort Bayard Military Reservation but was not included in the 1972 land transfer to the National Forest System.
“I’m pleased to introduce this bill today to help the Village of Santa Clara create a more prosperous future for the surrounding community. This land transfer will not only bring greater economic opportunities to the Village, but will create value for land that was otherwise locked up without any purpose. This means more businesses will be able to open up shop, increasing revenues and creating jobs for the local community. With this bill, the Village of Santa Clara will be granted a voice in the future management of these lands to protect and promote the priorities of the community,” Rep. Pearce said.
Rep. Pearce worked with Village of Santa Clara Mayor Richard Bauch to facilitate the land transfer.
“As Mayor of the Village of Santa Clara, I support the Congressman’s efforts today to unlock these lands that are adjacent to the Village for community and economic development. Since these lands are not a part of the Gila National Forest, the National Forest Service is unable to transfer the lands over without being authorized by Congress. I thank the Congressman for stepping in to unwind the tangle of bureaucracy that is limiting opportunities for the Village to expand. It is my hope that with this land transfer, we will leave behind a more prosperous village for generations to come,” Mayor Bauch said.
In 1972, the Fort Bayard Military Reservation was transferred to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Gila National Forest except for sections 34, 35, and 26. These parcels of land are still considered federal land and are managed by the Forest Service. Since these parcels were originally reserved as a military post, Congress must authorize the transfer of lands to the Village of Santa Clara.