GALLUP, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a common theme across New Mexico, especially in small towns. Once busy streets now run down with empty storefronts. Now, the state is investing millions to help towns try to bring life back to their main streets.
Big changes are on the way for nearly a dozen MainStreet communities across the state.
“I think they offer such rich cultural assists, such great opportunities for entrepreneurs and business owners, small business owners,” says Kara Smith, Executive Director of Gallup MainStreet.
New Mexico MainStreet and the New Mexico Economic Development Department has awarded a total of $4 million for revitalization projects. In places like Gallup, they received $800,000 to help fund their Coal Avenue Commons Project, an initiative that will transform two blocks into a plaza.
“A really new look for downtown, and I really think that’s going to help bring community together,” Smith says.
In Farmington, they plan to use the $360,000 they received to make downtown more aesthetically pleasing and pedestrian-friendly.
“This helps them slow down and take in the amazing stores that we have down there, and make sit easier, more walkable for our pedestrians,” says Warren Unsicker, Farmington Director of Economic Development.
Community leaders in Barelas say they plan to use the $100,000 to add landscaping and lighting to make the area more inviting for economic development.
“We want jobs in our community, but we also want thoughtful economic development for our small businesses,” says Alejandro Saavedra, Barelas Community Coalition.
While the needs of each MainStreet are different, they share a common goal. “Taking that DNA and just revamping it in a way that honors the past and creates a vibrant future for our community,” Unsicker says.
The 11 projects were selected through an application process. The number of projects depends on how much the legislature decides to give the state’s MainStreet program each year.
To check out the list of towns that are receiving money and look at the projects they have planned, click here.