Efforts continue to increase shade in downtown Las Cruces, particularly at Plaza de Las Cruces.
There was consensus among the Tax Increment Development District Board at its quarterly meeting Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, in Council Chambers at City Hall, that City staff should continue to pursue plans to create more shade at the Plaza. The TIDD Board consists of all members of the Las Cruces City Council and Dona Ana County Commissioner Shannon Reynolds.
The TIDD Board has tasked City staff to determine how best to add shade at the Plaza. Monday, the TIDD Board was presented with two options from a committee of downtown stakeholders who discussed and explored possible options for more shade at Plaza de Las Cruces, 101 N. Main St., and prepared a report that offered its recommendations.
Over the past several years, City Council has discussed and considered several ideas for enhancing shade at the Plaza. The options offered to the TIDD Board at Monday’s meeting included:
- Replacing existing trees at the Plaza with mature trees.
- Installing a vertical stand-alone shade structure on the west side of the Plaza.
What the TIDD Board favored Monday was a hybrid of the two options: replacing trees along the east and west sides of the Plaza with mature trees and installing some type of canopy or tent-like structure over the center portion of the Plaza that also could be easily raised or removed when needed.
The cost to increase shade at the Plaza could come from TIDD revenue and would be budgeted during the City’s 2024 fiscal year. Taxes collected in the TIDD must be used to fund infrastructure improvements within the district, located in downtown Las Cruces.
The TIDD Board asked City staff to provide more details about the proposal and wants to speak with additional City staff at the TIDD Board’s January meeting.
During Monday’s meeting, the TIDD Board also was updated on finances and current improvement projects in the TIDD. The Board learned shade structures for “callecitas” in downtown Las Cruces are expected to be completed during the City’s current fiscal year, which continues through June 30, 2023. A callecita is a small street that has been redesigned to better accommodate walking and people who want to gather leisurely.
Shade structures will be erected at the callecita on May Avenue between White’s Music Box and Matteo’s, and next to the New America High School, and the callecitas on Court Street, next to COAS Books and across Main Street next to Insta Copy. The “La Placita,” callecita, on Organ Avenue between Rad Retrocade and Downtown Boneyard Cantina, has had a shade structure for several years.
Also, the second phase of improvements are underway at City Parking Lot 7, off Water Street, behind the Rio Grande Theatre. Additional lighting in the parking lot, a new public restroom, and landscaping are being installed. The improvements are anticipated to be completed by early 2023.