City has train of thoughts for depot

By Chelle Delaney: QCS Staff

Family friendly. Shade. Signs from the 1930s-1940s. Art.

These were just a few of the ideas that residents and city officials had for the Tucumcari Train Station as it takes center stage in the planning for the revitalization of the city’s downtown as part of the MainStreet program.

About 25 people met on Sunday at Dean’s restaurant with a MainStreet planner and graduate students of planning and architecture from the University of New Mexico Albuquerque.

“A lot of towns are looking to the arts” in the redevelopment of their downtowns, said Elmo Baca, program associate for MainStreet and university instructor.
In Tucumcari, the train station is planned to house an art incubator program called Eastern New Mexico ArtSpace.

Baca said that while the development has trended east to west, in eastern New Mexico there appears to be a synergy from north to south and vice versa in the development of the arts.

“There seems to be a real good network developing,” he said.

Before touring the train station and its environs, attendees’ recommendations for the old depot included:

• The entire district should be “friendly and family welcome,” said Mayor Mary Mayfield. “We all feel like the railroad helped to build Tucumcari and we’d like to keep it for our children and grandchildren.”

Mayfield said she recalled that children used to have shade and an area to play while waiting at the train station and that she’d like to see those features return.

• A farmer’s market in the downtown area could have a beneficial effect, said David Buchen, director of the Small Business Development Center at Mesalands.

Community College. Farmers markets in other downtown communities have drawn in people who shop the market and visit other retailers, he said.

l Future planning should incorporate features and events that are for families and would be attractive to teenagers, said Tom Anderson.

Anderson also said the Quay County Council for the Arts and Humanities had contributed much to the city and would be a resource for the downtown area.

l The area should have guidelines so that retail signs, colors and other aspects be appropriate to the era, said artist Doug Quarles. Maintaining and promoting a turn-of-the-century look and feel will attract a lot of people, he said.

The city’s in a good position because the area is like a blank canvas, Baca said.