ELEPHANT BUTTE, N.M. (KRQE) – Elephant Butte Historic District is getting millions of dollars to spruce up popular visitor areas. Neighboring cities say they hope the improvements will boost tourism to the historic dam.

Story continues below:

City officials in Truth or Consequences said nearly $15 million in federal funding for improvements at Elephant Butte, is good news for the whole region. The funding will help fix the restaurant patio at the historic site and rehabilitate roads, parking lots, and water infrastructure. Truth or Consequences City Manager Bruce Swingle said he expects the upgrade to make the area more attractive to tourists.

“We’ll have tourists, visitors at the lake, they’ll be visiting the dam site, they’re going through Truth or Consequences going through the city of Elephant Butte, they’re going to buy products and merchandise and getting gas, going to our hotels and visiting the restaurants in the community,” said Swingle.

This comes after the dam site historic district finished the first stage of a multi-year rehabilitation project back in 2019. That project included fixing five casitas, replacing the underground plumbing, and rehabbing the building on the National Register of Historic Places. Swingle said the changes are helping restore the Elephant Butte recreation area to its former glory.

“Can’t wait to take friends and neighbors, family members out there and go back to what it was back in the heyday,” said Swingle. “I don’t think there could’ve been a better grant opportunity or recipient than the dam site area, it’s a historic district for us.”

The money comes from a 2021 Federal Infrastructure Law that provided funding for dam and waterway projects across Western states. Other New Mexico projects include improvements at Caballo Dam and El Vado Dam.