Council endorses Amador blueprint
By Mike Cook
Las Cruces Bulletin
The plan to revitalize a portion of west Amador Avenue now has the endorsement of the Las Cruces City Council.
After lengthy discussion by members and the public, the Council unanimously approved a resolution endorsing the vision and goals of the Amador Proximo blueprint.
David Weir, director of the city’s Community Development Department, said the plan should help to revitalize the neighborhood and encourage public and private development.
The blueprint would make the neighborhood “more walkable and bikeable,” improve its “mix of commerce and housing” and “provide better connections between where people live and work,” Weir said in a PowerPoint presentation to the council.
He said it should also help to “develop an expanded range of housing and job choices.”
With the council’s approval, city staff will now develop an implementation plan for the blueprint, seek a recommendation from the city Planning and Zoning Commission and bring the plan to the council for its approval in September, Weir said.
Amador Proximo is located in west Las Cruces, north of Amador Avenue, east of Valley Drive, south of Hadley Drive and west of the railroad tracks.
Councillor Ceil Levatino said she was concerned about the negative impact that Amador Proximo development might have on the nearby Downtown area.
“My concern is that we are moving so quickly,” she said. “We’re not giving Main Street a chance to be fully operational, fully successful before we move ahead.”
Weir said the area is “very different from Downtown,” and has a “different feel and flavor to it.”
Councillor Nathan Small, whose district contains the Amador Proximo neighborhood, said the area’s development “will greatly benefit parts of our community. It’s only further wind in the sails for our community. Hopefully, a great many benefits accrue.”
“It’s important to plan,” Councillor Gil Sorg said. “If we don’t plan now, who knows what it’s going to look like in the future.”
Davin Lopez, president and CEO of the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance, speaking for himself, said he “fully supports the blueprint going forward” because it will “benefit a stagnant area.”
“I do support this project,” said Arianna Parsons, executive director of the Downtown Las Cruces Partnership. She said development of Amador Proximo is “a great way to compliment what’s already happening downtown.”
It will give the downtown area “a population within a one-mile radius to draw from,” she said.
Las Cruces real estate broker Phil Jones said he has been employed by former and present Amador Proximo residents and believes development of the area will be a “complimentary project to downtown.”
He said 95 percent of stakeholders, including residents of the neighborhood, are aware of the planned development. “Thoughts of developing this area date back at least 20 years,” he said.
Las Cruces Police Chief Jaime Montoya said the police department and other law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, are “actively investigating” the Aug. 2, church bombings in Las Cruces and the Aug. 14 discovery of a bomb at First Presbyterian Church.
Bombs exploded Sunday morning, Aug. 2 in a mailbox at Calvary Baptist Church, 1800 S. Locust St. The second bomb exploded about 20 minutes later in a trash can at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 1327 N. Miranda St. An explosive device was discovered in a sprinkler box Friday, Aug. 14, at First Presbyterian Church, 200 E. Boutz Road. He Montoya said the FBI has a tip line that anyone with information about the bombings can call. The number is 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324). Crimestoppers is also offering a reward for information that leads to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the bombings.
Montoya also requested that any suspicious packages be reported to the Las Cruces Police Department at 526-0795. For emergencies, he said, people should always call 911. “We are going to be very vigilant,” Montoya said.
City Art Board
The council also unanimously adopted the City Art Board’s (CAB) strategic plan. The CAB was created several years ago to advise and make recommendations to the city council in developing guidelines and regulations for new art-related programs and projects. The CAB’s strategic plan “is a framework to facilitate discussion, planning and coordinated action to benefit our residents’ quality of life and enhance the community’s identity,” according to a city executive summary of the proposed CAB strategic plan ordinance.
“Art is a very important component” of the quality of life in Las Cruces, said Mark Johnston, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department during a PowerPoint presentation to the council on the CAB strategic plan.
“What this art board has done sends a message out about … the quality of life here,” said Councillor Greg Smith.
“The goal is to elevate Las Cruces into a mecca for artists,” said Mayor Ken Miyagishima.
Public art advocate Irene Oliver- Lewis told the council the strategic plan is “the beginning of something substantial. I recommend it as a person who lives and breathes art.”
The council also unanimously approved a resolution waving the church/school distance restriction for and issuing a small brewer off-site license with patio service to Bosque Brewing Co., LLC, 901 E. University Ave., Bldg. 945.
The council unanimously approved the appointment of Justin A. Chavez to the city’s University District Citizens Design Review Committee.
The next meeting of the city council will be a work session at 1 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 24 in city council chambers at Las Cruces City Hall, 700 N. Main St. Visit http://www.las-cruces. org/en/departments/city-clerksoffice/ city-council-meetings.