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MainStreet Roswell seeks funding, agreement

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Kathy Lay, executive director of MainStreet Roswell. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

MainStreet Roswell will ask the city of Roswell next week to continue its annual funding and service agreement with the nonprofit for another year.

The Roswell City Council is expected to consider the $40,000 funding request and business agreement during its regular meeting Thursday night.

The nonprofit also is asking for $14,700 of “in-kind” assistance and lodgers’ tax funding of about $20,340 for the UFO Festival in July.

Kathy Lay, MainStreet Roswell executive director, said that the “Scope of Services” to be considered by the City Council has changed some.

“It will more clearly define the kind of work that we are currently doing,” she said. “It had some of the activities and things that we haven’t done in years that we no longer feel are beneficial. We are shifting over into the trainings and workshops and some of the support we do for our downtown businesses.”

She also said that the request for up to $14,700 in in-kind assistance — or labor or equipment from city departments — for about 31 events in 2019-20 will mean that the organization will not have to make separate asks of the City Council for each event.

In making its request of continuation of funding and a business agreement, the organization will present its past year’s results and accomplishments, which include receiving national accreditation from Main Street America for the second year in a row. The group had that distinction for a while in earlier years, but regained it in 2018.

“That allows us to get more service requests from New Mexico MainStreet, where they send (experts) down,” Lay said. “As an affiliate, we are allowed four. As an accredited, we are allowed eight.”

Service requests can be for such things as feasibility studies of underutilized properties and architectural assistance for building improvements.

Lay said the hope this coming year is to use requests for experts to identify possible uses for some of the empty lots in the district. She said she is also working on grant applications for new benches and bike racks.

The national accreditation indicates that organizations have met 10 performance standards established by MainStreet America, which cover such things as mission, training and involvement of board members, sufficiency of an operating budget and having a paid program manager, according to the MainStreet America website.

“The partnership between New Mexico MainStreet, local MainStreet revitalization organizations and their government partner helps New Mexico’s downtowns transform into economically vibrant communities,” said Jon Clark, New Mexico Economic Development deputy cabinet secretary, in announcing the re-accreditation.

He also noted that the state organization, New Mexico MainStreet, was re-accredited, along with 24 other local MainStreet organizations in the state in addition to MainStreet Roswell.

Lay is the only paid staff member of MainStreet Roswell, with most of the work done by the eight-member board and other volunteers, who gave an estimated 4,817.5 hours of time last year, Lay said.

The organization also achieves its goals in cooperation with partner organizations, including the city, the Roswell Chamber of Commerce, the Hispano Chamber of Commerce, the Roswell/Chaves County Economic Development Corp., the Small Business Development Center and WESST (formerly Women Empowerment and Self-Sufficiency Team).

She said other achievements in the downtown district in 2018 include 23 building improvement projects; several downtown beautification projects; $1,112,180 in private investment; a net gain of three new businesses — nine new ones, six closed; and a net gain of 62.75 jobs — 92 new jobs; 29.25 jobs lost.

The organization also coordinates events that draw tourists. These include the annual UFO Festival, the Holiday Parade, Farmer’s Market and Chile Cheese Festival. It has also organized several business training workshops and seminars and assisted in promoting the downtown area and its businesses to other businesses and to the public.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.