Governor Martinez and Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela presented the Downtown Las Cruces Partnership and the city of Las Cruces Monday with the Cabinet Secretary's Award for Community Economic Development for their collaboration in the re-opening of Main Street in Las Cruces. The award is given in recognition of an outstanding community-driven economic development project in a New Mexico Main Street district.
"I congratulate the city of Las Cruces and the Downtown Las Cruces Partnership for their dedication and effort in re-opening Main Street to vehicular traffic," Governor Martinez said. "We are thrilled with the progress that has been made in creating a vibrant downtown atmosphere and creating a base for job creation in Downtown Las Cruces."
The city of Las Cruces re-opened its Main Street on November 17, 2012, exactly 43 years to the day after the city voted to close it to vehicular traffic. In the face of the commercial decline of Main Streets across the country in the 1960's and 70's, Las Cruces joined in the national trend of closing down its Main Street to vehicular traffic and converting the area to a pedestrian-only Downtown Mall.
"Las Cruces' newly re-opened Main Street stands as a testament to the power of the city, state and the private sector working together and the real impact of a community-led economic revitalization effort," Secretary Barela said. "The people of Las Cruces should be very proud of the work that has been done to transform their city center."
More than two decades later, in the early 1990s, the idea of restoring two-way traffic on Main Street began to take root. The process of re-opening Main Street began in 2006, with the groundbreaking of phase one, which was followed by two additional phases that consisted of re-opening different sections of Main Street.
The Las Cruces Main Street was established in 1907, and became the center of Las Cruces life for decades. In 2002, the Downtown Las Cruces Partnership formed as a coalition of downtown stakeholders working in collaboration with the City of Las Cruces and the New Mexico MainStreet Program. The group of stakeholders worked towards creating a positive downtown business environment and revitalizing the historic MainStreet District.