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Groups seek public input on downtown project

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This alleyway on East Walnut Street is part of the area planned to be turned into a landscaped and upgraded "market walk." The area near the railroad would run north to East Third Street. (Daily Record File Photo)

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The city of Roswell and MainStreet Roswell will present some initial concepts this week for a new downtown marketplace project.

A planning committee has worked with the two entities to provide ideas for some preliminary designs that can be modified to reflect public input, according to Juanita Jennings, director of public affairs for the city.

MainStreet Roswell received a $100,000 “Great Blocks” grant in November 2019 from the New Mexico MainStreet Capital Outlay Program for a project it has been calling the Roswell Market Walk. The landscaping and upgrades to alleyways and the development of some areas into event venues would occur in the downtown railroad district between East Walnut and East Third streets.

“It’s important to ensure this will work for years to come, not just right now,” Jennings said. “The past several months we have been diligent in discussing the future redevelopment of this area and what it will mean for the downtown businesses, with the goal of creating a market walk space for locals to go and enjoy their lunch break, visitors to stop, get out of their car and stretch their legs. We want to know what else would community members like to see this space used for. We’ve included in the design the opportunity for a car-charging station, food trucks, a stage and some outdoor picnic space. We are asking the public, what else is missing?’”

She said the intent is to have the design completed and construction documents ready by December, with MainStreet Roswell and city staff expecting to apply for additional grant funding around that time to help pay for the cost of the construction and improvements.

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Jennings also said downtown business owners, city elected officials, the city’s community development director, representatives with the state and local MainStreet groups, and employees of the railroad and utility companies have all been consulted.

She also said that the project will require more than grant funding.

“We’ve been very vigilant in the concept development to make sure we’re being realistic, as we will have to have community partner support to actually see this project finished,” she said. “We believe there will be support from New Mexico MainStreet, but we will also have to rely on other community support. I believe the local property owners, as well as some of the other stakeholders, want to see this come to fruition and that is a great start.”

The public meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Bassett Auditorium, Roswell Museum & Art Center, 1011 N. Richardson Ave. People needing accommodations for the meeting can contact Jeff Stuart of MRWM Landscape Architects, 505-268-2266, or jstuart@mrwmla.com.