Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

“It’s a domino effect”: Las Cruces is looking for solutions while shops on El Paseo close

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico – Once a busy and busy section of Las Cruces, business owners say they saw El Paseo Road deteriorate badly over the past decade.

“It’s a domino effect,” explains Gabe Vasquez, the city councilor responsible for the beautification of the street. “We saw so many empty buildings. We saw break-ins. Unfortunately, we have seen El Paseo decline in recent years. Really, in the last ten years. “

“I would love to see El Paseo come back,” said Bonnie Hosie, who was shopping at Walgreens Monday afternoon. “It’s such an important business space for all of us who live in this part of Las Cruces. We don’t all live out on the East Mesa!”

“It used to be a thriving area,” explains Danette Melton, whose parents have owned Flowerama for thirty years. “We just chose to stay here through thick and thin, through openings and closings.”

Melton told ABC-7 that she needed to remove human feces from her property and sometimes asked law enforcement officers to remove intruders.

“We actually considered moving a location, but everyone knows where Flowerarama is,” Melton said. “Our fear is that if we actually move, people might not find us.”

Vasquez is on his way out of office, but he tells the city to act on the streets. He told ABC-7 that he chairs a committee that has come up with several ideas to revitalize El Paseo Road and South Solano Drive.

“This will be an affair of the heart, but we have to stay tuned and continue to purposefully rehabilitate this area,” said the city council.

“El Paseo was the shopping street in the 1990s,” said Mayor Ken Miyagishima.

He also told ABC-7 that he would like to get involved in the project, but if South Solano is involved he will have to pull out as his insurance office is in that part of town.

Vasquez said the first project the city will undertake is an affordable housing complex with 400 units behind the vacant Video 4 building. The “Paseos Verdes” project will also have a retail and commercial component, in partnership with the Mesilla Valley Housing Authority and ideally with federal funding.

“Hopefully in five years we’ll be in a thriving business with a parking lot full of people,” said Vasquez. “The restoration of El Paseo is truly restoring the spirit and heart of Las Cruces.”

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