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LAS CRUCES - The Las Cruces City voted 4-3 not to change the name of Motel Boulevard to Pat Garrett Boulevard.
The vote came after pointed discussion and public input at the council’s regular meeting on Monday, July 15 – the day after the 138th anniversary of the date then-Doña Ana County Sheriff Pat Garrett shot and killed Billy the Kid in Fort Sumner, New Mexico.
Voting against the proposed name change were Councilors Kasandra Gandara, Gabe Vasquez and Yvonne Flores and Mayor Pro-Tem Gill Sorg. Voting in favor of the name change were Mayor Ken Miyagishima and Councilors Greg Smith and Jack Eakman.
The name change was requested by the Doña Ana County Historical Society (DACHS) about a year ago and had previously been approved by the city Planning and Zoning Commission and the Doña Ana County Commission.
Sara Gonzales of the city Community Development Department said the change would affect 17 city street and nine state highway signs. She said the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) would not pay any portion of the cost of changing the name because it was not a safety issue. NMDOT told the city the cost could be as high as $469,000 because “Pat Garrett” is longer than “Motel” and changes to sign structures would have been required.
DACHS Pat Garrett Committee Chair Bob Gamboa said the name change would promote and preserve Mesilla Valley history and attract visitors to Las Cruces.
Several councilors expressed concern about the potential cost and Vasquez, with agreement from Flores, said he opposed the change because it elevated Western folklore above other local and indigenous cultures according to history written by Anglos.
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