By Steve Hansen
QCS Managing Editor
Mark Lake announced Friday that he is retiring May 1 as director of Tucumcari MainStreet, a job he has held since December 2008.
With Lake at the helm, Tucumcari MainStreet has renovated the city’s historic Train Depot to be a focal point for further development of downtown. The $2-million renovation project has included remodeling of the depot’s main room, which can now serve as an event hall and meeting facility, and adding concrete and décor to the depot grounds, including concrete forms, and decorative railings and street lights. A third phase, developmentof a rail-oriented museum, is under way, Lake said.
Other MainStreet projects under Lake’s direction have included its Paint the Town program in which volunteers have painted buildings on Main Street on Historic Route 66 to reflect their original use as gas stations in the 1950s and 60s.
A recent MainStreet New Mexico report says that since MainStreet Tucumcari became active in 2007, the downtown area has seen 19 new businesses, 45 jobs created, and $205,700 in private investment has occurred.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my tenure with MainStreet,” Lake said. “We have made a positive impact on the community with the cooperation of the Main Street Board of Directors, the city of Tucumcari’s government, county government, the Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corporation and the Small Business Development Center.”
David Hale, chair of the MainStreet board, said, “Mark has been an extremely capable director for MainStreet. I am saddened by his decision, but I wish him the best. Mark has given us a strong sense of direction and solidified the mission of the organization. We have made considerable progress under his leadership.”
Rich Williams, director of New Mexico MainStreet for the state Department of Economic Development, said, “Mark has made some incredible contributions to Tucumcari, working with economic development and the municipality to make things better, not only for the city, but for the state.”
Over the past year, Lake also served as chair of the New Mexico Coalition of MainStreet Communities.
In July, Lake received the director’s award for MainStreet leadership. In a certificate that accompanied the award, New Mexico MainStreet director, said Lake “has been a community bridge builder, bringing together municipal leaders, the Chamber of Commerce and the local Economic Development Organization in a series of successful projects in Tucumcari’s MainStreet District.”
The Main Street District includes Tucumcari’s downtown area.
Hale said the board is beginning the process of finding a replacement for Lake, beginning with developing a job description.
Lake said his retirement will allow him to spend more time as pastor of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Tucumcari, and in his ceramics studio.