Six separate park and outdoor infrastructure projects have been announced as the first-ever recipients of state funding through a new program overseen by the New Mexico Economic Development Department.
The initiative, according to a statement released by the development, focuses on “conservation-minded shovel-ready programs that are open to the public and demonstrate a clear benefit to the community, either by attracting and retaining residents and/or attracting visitors.”
As previously announced, grants range from $5,000 to $25,000 and require a 50/50 matching component.
What are being called Special Projects and Outdoor Infrastructure Fund grants are being administered by the Economic Development Department’s Outdoor Recreation Division.
Recipients for this first round of funding include the Silver City-based Southwest New Mexico Arts, Culture and Tourism group for the building of a pavilion measuring around 35 feet in diameter as well as the building of a trail connecting the historic Silver City Water Works building with the city’s Penny Park roughly half a mile to the south.
The Santa Clara Pueblo is receiving funding for the building of three picnic sites that will be Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant at the Santa Clara Canyon. Those sites will include barbeque stands, benches, tables, and permanent overhead shelters.
A complicated rail-to-rail conversion project taken on by the Santa Fe Conservation Trust is also receiving support. The La Tierra Chili Line Trail project tracks the famous Chili Line narrow-gauge railroad running through the northern part of the state for six decades leading up to World War II.
The construction of new signs and banners, as well as half a dozen fence gates, is receiving funding through the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, which has offices in Golden, Colorado. The additional trail enhancement and infrastructure work will take place entirely in the Lordsburg region in southwest New Mexico.
The Village of Taos Ski Valley is getting support for the construction of a bathroom that will go up in the parking lot leading to the state’s highest peak. That new facility will include passive solar and evaporative toilet systems, among other features.
Some 25 miles worth of signs running along the Zuni Mountain Trail will be replaced through funding support to the group Adventure Gallup & Beyond, whose offices are in Gallup. New signage will also be built on a 5-mile stretch of the Pyramid Rock Trail.
In a statement, Axie Navas, director of the Outdoor Recreation Division, said the six grant recipients “stood out for their creative approaches to developing outdoor recreation access in their communities, attracting jobs, talent, and visitors, and overall increasing their residents’ well-being.”
By Garry Boulard
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