At a recent public meeting organized by MainStreet Truth or Consequences, attendees heard from the architects responsible for redesigning Foch Street downtown. The meeting was an update at the 65% completion point, and included information about stormwater harvesting, design elements, and landscaping choices.
After presenting the information and answering questions, key takeaways included:
- Given the choice between matching existing lighting at Healing Waters Plaza and introducing new solar lighting, most attendees preferred matching existing lighting. It was noted that City electric power is already partially solar.
- Public comment indicated that new bike racks are not needed on S. Foch St.
- In addition to signage at the intersections at Main and Broadway, signage along Foch could direct people to City Hall, businesses on McAdoo, and the river.
- There was no clear desire for a community board as part of the project. It was noted that a community board would need to be protected from the wind.
- There was a clear desire for festival-type lighting strung across S. Foch St. to entice visitors to the street. Several ideas were noted for poles on which to attach lighting – existing electric poles, sleeved removable poles, and using lasers directed at buildings instead of festival lights.
- There was general appreciation of the shade structure schematic for the front of Lee Belle, although there was also some concern about the metal material attracting heat.
- One audience member requested that bat houses be included in the design to house the bats currently living in an empty building on S. Foch that is under new ownership and may be torn down.
- There was clear preference for seeding the stormwater features instead of planting with only container plants. It was suggested to include interpretive signage explaining the function and benefit of the stormwater features. There was public interest in assisting with the weeding necessary to help the seeded native vegetation become established.
The Foch Street redesign is due to T or C winning a grant from New Mexico MainStreet. The architects’ latest presentation is available for download.
After the Foch Street presentation, MainStreet Truth or Consequences Executive Director Linda DeMarino presented briefly on three downtown policy topics the organization will be exploring:
- Vacant Buildings: To encourage landlords to move quickly to fill downtown vacancies, some communities have offered incentives — or penalties.
- Chain Stores: Some communities have established policies that prohibit or limit national chains from opening in their historic downtown retail zones.
- Live/Work: Some communities have established zoning regulations that require tenants in retail storefronts to be genuine retail businesses with posted hours of operation.
DeMarino said that no specific proposals are under active consideration by MainStreet or the city, and the intention was simply to open up the topics for the community to begin thinking about. Anyone with feedback can email firstname.lastname@example.org with their thoughts.