Portales windmills to be moved throughout year

File photo Bill and Alta Dalley said they are excited about their windmill collection being moved to the Portales fairgrounds, but they will miss people stopping by for pictures of the collection. Moving the windmills is going to surpass the originally quoted $10,000, but the project was budgeted for $25,000, according to County Manager Charlene Webb.

Alisa Boswell

A nationally known windmill collection is in the process of being moved to the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds at a cost between $15,000 and $25,000.

Bill Dalley, Portales resident and a New Mexico windmill collector for more than 30 years, donated his collection of 80 windmills to the county in the summer of 2011, saying it was time for them to have a new home.

Dalley and his wife, Alta, said although saying goodbye has been emotional for them and their children and grandchildren, they are excited the move is finally happening and they hope it will be complete before winter.

“It’s been very good,” Bill Dalley said of the moving process. “We’re just anxious for them to be moved out and put in. We’re just glad the county is taking them.”

The Dalley home, located on South Kilgore, has been listed on roadsideamerica.com as one of the “neat places off the beaten path” to visit in the U.S.

“I think it’s exaggerated,” said Alta Dalley, Bill’s wife, of the Web description. “But I miss telling people about them when they come by.”

“There’s not a lot of people who have windmill farms anymore, but we’re pleased people have gone out of their way to find Portales, New Mexico, to see the windmills,” added Bill Dalley. “That is one thing we’re going to miss though is people always stopping by to see them and take pictures.”

The couple said Clovis Gray of Floyd, who works with windmills for a living, has moved six of the windmills over the last two months.

“They’re very good and very careful,” Dalley said of the independent contractor and his crew. “I messed with windmills for 30 years, so it’s interesting to watch the pros work at it.”

“He goes out and watches every move they make,” his wife added, laughing.

Alta said her husband will watch workers load the windmills, then drive to the fairgrounds to watch them unload it.

Roosevelt County Manager Charlene Webb said Gray originally quoted the county $10,000 to move the windmills but after county officials realized they would have to build a fence to surround the collection and build new towers for many of the windmills, they realized the project would require more funds.

Webb said $25,000 is budgeted for the project, “but I don’t think will reach that amount.”

Gray said since he moves the windmills in between his other regular work projects and since there have been setbacks due to weather, he does not think he will have all of the windmills moved until well into winter.

“It’s going to take a good long while,” Gray said. “Since the summer is my busy season, it will be winter before we get really hooked back up on it.”

The Dalleys said more than anything, they are glad the collection will remain a local attraction that area residents can enjoy.