Former Senator Papen Honored

May 31, 2012



(LAS CRUCES) -- The Mesilla Park Community Center is honoring a late senator for his dedication and work that left a foot print in the City of Las Cruces. Local and state leaders are coming together to help celebrate a new name for an old building in Las Cruces. The Mesilla Park Community Center is now the Frank O'Brien Papen Community Center.  It's named after a prominent Las Cruces business man and New Mexico political leader. “He had a vision for activity downtown and one of the things he wanted to see happen was an enclosed air conditioning shopping center and so the Loredo Town Center was the first air conditioning shopping center in New Mexico.  He was also instrumental getting the Bank Tower built and so that is a very visual landmark here in Las Cruces still,” said Gregory Z. Smith from the City of Las Cruces City Council. The late senator dedicated his life to ventures that promoted growth and development in the Mesilla Valley and that's something city leaders want visitors to get every time they walk threw the doors of the center. “Each one of us can look at that see the building itself and see the name on the building and go, the building is serving that man, serving his community, myself can figure out ways that I can do they to help my community,” he said. The late senator's photography is also on display inside the center, where many generations spent most of their time.  The picture is part of a joint memorial statement from the New Mexico State Legislature. “As many of the people that Live in this neighborhood, all went to school here and their parents went to school here,” said Senator Mary Kay Papen. He was the former president and CEO of First National Bank.  Papen's widow, Senator Mary Kay Papen says her husband will be remembered for the impact he made in the community. “After we married, we lived at the farm for a while and then he said, he would come to my house and he would sit in front and he would say you know I want to live in your house, I love this neighborhood, I know everybody in the neighborhood, and they stopped and we talked and we would visit, all of that so he was very, he love this neighborhood and I felt that it was a family neighborhood,” she said. Reported by Carlos Correa