By Mike Cook
Las Cruces Bulletin
LAS CRUCES – Talk about the letter of the law.
A proposal to change the name of Motel Boulevard to Pat Garrett Boulevard could cost the city, county and New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) nearly $500,000 according to an update that city council members received May 28.
The council has been considering the name change since receiving a request last year from the Doña County Historical Society. The city Planning and Zoning Commission and Doña Ana County Commission have already approved the change. A longer name would mean longer highway signs, boosting the cost, most of which would be paid by NMDOT, city staff said.
Most council members expressed their opposition.
“Prices over $60,000 are a deal breaker,” Councilor Jack Eakman said.
“Half a million to me for a sign change is a little bit of an exorbitant cost,” Councilor Gabe Vasquez said. Vasquez said he would advocate for a street name that would honor Las Cruces’ indigenous and Mexican heritage.
“Half a million dollars is a little hard to swallow,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Gill Sorg.
“I don’t like the name Pat Garrett,” Councilor Yvonne Flores said. “I don’t think it brings historical value.”
Councilor Greg Smith said he would support a name that honors more local legends, including women like Dolores Huerta and Denise Chavez.
Mayor Ken Miyagishima said the city will vote on the proposed name change in June or July.