The city of Tucumcari received certification on Aug. 14 as an official MainStreet community from the State’s Economic Department's MainStreet organization.
At the Tucumcari Chamber of Commerce monthly social Thursday, MainStreet executive director Mark Lake reported on revitalization projects throughout the year and encouraged attendees to become members of the local MainStreet organization.
Lake said the next major project for his organization is the restoration of the downtown train depot to its original, 1926 condition. He said MainStreet is working with a planning team in Albuquerque to complete plans for the project area. Restoration will involve tearing down walls inside the depot that were added after its initial construction and replacing the building's roof with tiles from the same Chicago firm that manufactured the depot’s original tiles.
Workers will also restore the original breezeway that once lead from the depot parking lot to the railside platform and create an entryway to the depot on Second Street. The project is scheduled for completion by June 2011.
“It takes a lot of planning before we actually get to construction on projects like this, so it goes slow from the casual observer's perspective, but there are people working on it every day. It's just that you can't see the work that's being done,” Lake said.
Lake said he hopes to see revitalization spread across the greater downtown area in years to come, and points to Silver City, another MainStreet community, as an example of a town that managed to turn a cluster of empty buildings into a thriving cultural hub.
“25 years ago, 40 percent of the buildings in the downtown district in Silver City were boarded up and unoccupied. Presently they have a 98 percent occupancy rate and a large, large number of those previously blurted out buildings have not only become occupied but the buildings have been rehabilitated,” Lake said.
Tucumcari MainStreet Board of Directors member Diana Beck said community involvement will determine the success of MainStreet initiatives.
“Just don’t let it die. Don’t let Tucumcari die. Come down and support us and give your ideas and when we have a meeting like we did the other day, be involved. Come down and asked to be on the board of directors, to become volunteers in what we’re going to be needing,” Beck said.