A series of projects designed, in different ways, to support the revitalization of New Mexico’s historic downtowns, have just been awarded up to $1.5 million.
“These public infrastructure projects will aid New Mexico’s economic recovery efforts from the Covid-19 pandemic because they create jobs, build confidence in business owners, and incentivize commercial property improvements,” Alicia Keyes, the Secretary of the New Mexico Economic Development Department, said in a statement announcing the grants.
One of the most visible projects, specifically coming through the New Mexico MainStreet initiative, is seeing the renovation and upgrading of the iconic Totah Theater in Farmington.
That project had earlier received state funding designed to upgrade theater, lobby, and office space, among other purposes, but now it is receiving an additional $135,000 for the installation of new digital projection and sound equipment.
In an interview with the Durango Herald, Warren Unsicker, director of Farmington’s Department of Economic Development, described the new equipment installation as part of a larger effort to return the Totah Theater to its “former glory for non-film uses, like live music, stage shows, and as a valuable educational facility for local schools.”
The theater, located at 315 W. Main Street, was built in 1949 and renovated in the 1980s.
Additional MainStreet funding to the tune of $275,000 is going to the Zia Sun Art-Scape Intersection Project in Deming; with $90,000 allocated for phase three of a wayfinding sign project in Lovington.
The largest grant, at $1 million, is targeting what is known as the South Foch Street Project in downtown Truth or Consequences. That project is seeing the redevelopment and upgrading of several blocks along the well-traveled Foch Street Corridor.
As part of that project, Truth or Consequences officials have worked to both preserve and restore existing historic storefronts, while also implementing streetscape enhancements and pedestrian safety improvements.
By Garry Boulard
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