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Las Cruces City Council Approves Downtown Master Plan

The New Downtown Master Plan was approved by city council by a vote of 6-0. The new plan includes plans for mixed-use development, a form-based code, and economic development that focuses on retail, residential, and hotel and hospitality markets.

City Councilor Greg Smith says new plan gives the city an idea of what it can do to help grow development downtown.

“What can the city do with it’s leveraged funding,” Smith said. “With it’s leveraged abilities to make some of these other things happen. Because frankly, the private sector hasn’t been able to do it on it’s own so far. We certainly have got some great businesses downtown. We’ve got some great people who have stuck their necks out and who have gone downtown in a big way, we have to appreciate them. But if you look at what the need is downtown from the standpoint of how do we get that ball really rolling. We’re going to have to do a little more on the city side.”

Russ Smith, Chairman of Project Main Street says the plan provides a good framework to continue progress that is already being made downtown.

“The master plan really has all the nuts and bolts for development in so many different ways,” Smith said. “If you take the centerpiece which is the Plaza, and work out from their in radius. It includes the rest of the city and access and movement of people, and ideas for downtown activities. Everything’s falling into place nicely, I like it a lot.”

 City Councilor Greg Smith added an amendment to commit to turning the old post office building into the museum of art when the municipal court moves, in order to help downtown become an arts and culture district and encourage the creative economy.

“We can build the environment where those things are more likely to happen,” Smith said. “And that’s where I think we can consciously look at how we’re structuring our museum system, and saying we’re using these different pieces of it to make anchors for our downtown, and further build up our arts and build up our art opportunities, so I think it is likely to be a win-win on multiple levels.”

Samantha Sonner was a multimedia reporter for KRWG- TV/FM.