LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

Some Las Crucens are protesting a proposed road that would go through a piece of Apodaca Park.

They say it will be dangerous, inconvenient and could be illegal.

Developers say it would be an improvement. They are proposing a road that would go through a dirt parking lot at the park.

Some residents are concerned because they would lose a piece of Apodaca Park.

"You have to look at this from a safety perspective of children running, toddlers, dogs. We've got little kids playing," said Connie Potter, the president of the country club neighborhood association.

Potter also believes the proposed road would leave people with nowhere to park.

Developers are proposing a hospital surrounded by a rehab center and assisted living. Project manager Bob Pofahl said the proposed project would actually make the park better.

It impacts the park very little. Does not impact the recreational use of the park. In fact our plan would actually add parking spaces and additional open space for the park.

The project is required to have two access roads for the hospital. There is already an entrance at Camino Del Rex. The new road through the park would be the second entrance.

"This road is only designed for 25 to 30 mph. We believe this development will bring economic vitality, good paying jobs, good services," Pofahl said.

The road would be open to the public. Potter fears there would be too much traffic near a busy park.

"This is a bad idea. The city should take this very seriously. And furthermore hands off our park. Period," Potter said.

Potter is also concerned about developers and city officials violating a federal law that protects the park.

The park is protected because it was renovated using federal grant money. That protection states no part of the property can be changed from public recreation use without the approval of the federal Secretary of Interior.

Mayor Ken Miyagishima said if the project is approved, the city would follow all appropriate measures.

Those who are opposed said the federal protection is there to prevent projects like this road.

"The purpose is that people's tax dollars that paid for this park and the New Mexico state dollars that paid to maintain it aren't given, traded, swapped, etc. for development that isn't in the best interest of the people," Potter said.

"We're walking through the process in a legal manner. Everything we've done has been in public hearings. The public has been notified," Pofahl said.

Developers still need to get the zoning for the former country club property approved by the City Council before the project can move forward.