State approves MainStreet for Tucumcari

by Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

It’s official. Tucumcari’s Main Street is now part of the MainStreet program.

Rick Homans, the state’s secretary of economic development, on Thursday made the announcement at Lena’s restaurant, which is naturally on Main Street.

“What MainStreet does is give you a structure and a process,” Homans said. “MainStreet establishes a vision and this is the first step towards making it happen.”

New Mexico MainStreet is sponsored by the state’s Economic Development Department, which is the local affiliate of the National Trust MainStreet Center, which seeks to bring vitality to city centers across the country.

Homans said there’s competition among other New Mexico cities to become one of the MainStreet projects and he complimented city leaders on their efforts. Pluses for the city, Homans said, were plans for Tucumcari’s train station and several businesses that have already opened up downtown in anticipation of Main Street.

“I’ve waited for nine years for this to happen,” Mayor Mary Mayfield told the crowed of 75 who had gathered at the restaurant to hear the announcement.

Earlier this year, the city approved a $20,000 expenditure by the Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corp. to develop a local MainStreet organization.

And there has been a selection of a chair of a steering committee, who is attorney Nancy English.

Becoming a MainStreet project comes with expert training for promotion, an economic study and architectural evaluation, among other things, but not necessarily an open door to lots of money, English said.

English said membership on the steering committee was open to all and that its next meeting would be at 7 p.m. on Friday at Lena’s Restaurant.

“For every one dollar that’s (put) into a MainStreet project, another $16 in partnership money is generated,” Homans said.
One of the first steps in the program will be an economic evaluation by the University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business Economic Research, said Rich Williams, director of New Mexico Main Street.

“They will take a micro to macro approach,” he said, “looking at MainStreet’s economics, Tucumcari’s and then the region. They’ll be looking at things like demographics, what’s working, what will work.”

Earlier this year, Gov. Bill Richardson said that “In the past three years, local MainStreet projects have generated $52 million in private-sector reinvestment in their community downtowns. They’ve generated 383 building renovations, expanded 103 local businesses and have
created 405 new jobs.”