By Cassie McClure
Published in the Las Cruces Sun-News 12/6/20.
If it’s 10:30 a.m. and there are no meetings scheduled, it’s off for a quick lap around Las Cruces Utilities’ (LCU) new walking path for LCU Senior Engineer Rocío Nasir.
Her job is typically sedentary, pouring over plans and making recommendations for projects to keep LCU in compliance with new regulations. If there are pipes that need to change in size or a different material is required at previously installed locations, it’s up to Nasir to dig through past work data and create a project that keeps LCU compliant. It’s plenty of computer work and unfolding schematics on her desk to cross-reference – sometimes it’s helpful to get out and stretch her legs.
For that, and other associates at the LCU administration building, at 680 N. Motel Boulevard, a path was formally created through an unused ring of land that before only had sandy dirt. “We used repurposed green waste, turned composted mulch, from the Foothills Composting Facility along with pavement millings to construct the path. Solid Waste Heavy Equipment Operator, Joshua Dominguez, took the lead on the project and constructed the path in a way to be more usable and safer for staff to walk on,” said Robin Lawrence, LCU deputy director Solid Waste.
Through her route, Nasir can see stacks of trash containers ready to go out and associates washing the trash trucks. Nasir estimates that two times around, in 15 minutes, is a good mile walked. The most helpful for her has been using that time as a walking meeting with other more senior engineers while applying COVID-safe practices.
“I’ve been able to take my fellow engineers out and chat, not only about the weather, but talk about our projects and the best way to tackle them,” Nasir said. “This is much healthier, to have a walk and talk while distancing, than scheduling a time for both of us sitting at a desk.”
Even though more groups had previously gone out together before COVID-19, the associates are now keeping it to one or two people, masking up and even staggering the timing in intervals to lessen any possible exposure.
Rhonda Diaz, LCU water conservation program coordinator, has her eye on the walking path as a future home for more water conservation projects, much like the public Demonstration Garden out front, with benches and a location for drought-tolerant plants. Diaz said, “It’ll be another way to reach out to our associates to not only get them to enjoy the blue skies and fresh air but get a glimpse of nature right here in our backyard.”
Las Cruces Utilities can be reached at 575/528-3500 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
LCU Senior Engineer Rocío Nasir takes a quick walk around the new LCU walking path that allows for a lap around the LCU administration building, 680 N. Motel Boulevard. LCU used composted mulch, pavement millings, and unused space for the health benefit of its associates.
Note: This story was recently published in the Las Cruces Sun-News.