Closure causes concern

Thomas Garcia

The closure of the Circle K Shell gas station on the corner of South First Street and Route 66 may hinder attempts to revitalize the famed strip in Tucumcari.

Crews fenced in the gas pumps at the convenience store Thursday morning.

A Circle K company spokesman refused to make any comment about the closure or possible sale of the property.

“Anytime you have a business closing in Tucumcari is bad news,” said Patrick Vanderpool, executive director of the Economic Development Corporation.

Vanderpool said the closure is something no Tucumcari agency wants to see.

“Over the years, local agencies have coordinated efforts to revitalize Route 66,” Vanderpool said.

One of those projects was the redecoration of three now-defunct Route 66 gas stations. The project was started last year by the Tucumcari Chamber of Commerce and MainStreet organization to attract tourists.

“We have no idea why they would want to close,” said Mark Lake, Tucumcari MainStreet program director.

Lake said the station is located at a strategic point in the heart of Tucumcari. He said having it closed and boarded up may hurt tourism.

“As people enter Tucumcari off I-40 and proceed down First Street, we don’t want the first thing they see to be a series of closed businesses,” Lake said.

Lake said the location of the property could interest a similar company to move into Tucumcari.

“There are so many factors when you look at how that property could be used,” Vanderpool said. “What is the condition of the underground tanks? Are they even interested in letting the property go?”

Vanderpool and Lake both agreed the community will just have to wait and see what develops.

“There is so much potential for that lot and the (closed) Megan’s restaurant caddy-corner from there,” Lake said.