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April 30, 2022
Economic Development for Airport Rd., Siler-Rufina Districts

 

SANTA FE, April 30, 2022 — The Governing Body voted Wednesday to approve a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City of Santa Fe, New Mexico MainStreet, and the Airport Road and Siler-Rufina Nexus Corridor stakeholder groups to provide support for revitalization projects in the two iconic neighborhoods. 

The public-private partnership will provide free professional services and technical assistance to neighborhood organizations to help bring to fruition projects each has identified as uniquely critical to the revitalization of each corridor. To qualify, each proposal had to demonstrate that their projects would result in “job creation, business development, leveraging of private sector investment, or enhancement of a community’s economic environment.”

The Airport Road and Siler-Rufina Nexus corridors were selected by New Mexico MainStreet in July 2021 to participate in the Urban Neighborhood Commercial Corridor (UNCC) pilot program.

“This is an exciting opportunity to demonstrate the City’s commitment to district development with community input," says Rich Brown, Director of Community and Economic Development. "The Southside is home to young families and immigrant business owners. It’s also the census tract with the highest poverty rates. Siler-Rufina has a burgeoning artist community, eclectic businesses, and non-profit organizations. This pilot program helps us better serve residents in both areas and to diversify the city’s economy.”

“Efforts like these will help create our next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs," says Mayor Alan Webber. "It’s important that we focus on our young people and families on the Southside. We want them to have more than good jobs. We want them to have great careers.”

AIRPORT ROAD CORRIDOR PROJECT

Miguel Acosta, Co-Director at Earth Care and project lead for the Airport Road Corridor stakeholder group, says the group’s winning project—South Side Civic Infrastructure Initiative: The Principles and Spirit of Community Driven Development for Social Justice—will be driven by the results of a series of bilingual community placitas and design sessions over the next six months. 

“It’s exciting that we’re finally getting this going,” says Acosta. “The Southside is coming together to claim its future, and it will be healthy, sustainable, equitable, and just. Local residents of all ages will ultimately decide the focus areas, and set priorities for a future that is designed by us, developed by us, and led by us.”

Suggested themes so far have been health and wellness, education and training, housing, community economic development, art and culture, and parks and recreation. 

SILER-RUFINA NEXUS PROJECT

Zane Fischer, co-founder and board chair of MAKE Santa Fe and CEO at Extraordinary Structures, led the charge to lay out a plan for the design-driven improvements to the west-side neighborhood, including streetscaping, branding and signage, zoning changes, and creative placemaking.

“The Siler-Rufina Nexus has been home to artists and entrepreneurs for a long time,” says Fischer. “It's not just the place you come to have your car fixed or to pick up some plumbing supplies, it's also Santa Fe's theater district and a great place to catch a band, grab a beer, meet for coffee, and more.”

Fischer says the addition of Siler Yard and El Camino Crossing residences have brought an influx of new residents, artists, and businesses to the area, making collaboration with New Mexico MainStreet and the City of Santa Fe even more timely and welcome. 

“The NMMS UNCC program is a great way for the businesses, creators, and residents of the neighborhood to create stronger bonds and share in a visioning process for the neighborhood that can result in actionable steps toward a more vibrant future. Convening stakeholders is one of the big benefits of the program, and also using the technical support talent from New Mexico MainStreet and City of Santa Fe Economic Development to help create promotion and representation for the neighborhood in a sustainable way moving forward--that's probably the number one goal of this process,” Fischer says. 

The Urban Neighborhood Commercial Corridor Initiative is a new pilot program of the New Mexico Economic Development Department’s MainStreet program. The initiative aims to support project-based community economic development in urban neighborhood commercial corridors in cities with more than 50,000 people that may not have capacity to manage or eligibility for a full Main Street program.

To apply, community stakeholders collaborate with local governing bodies to identify a qualifying economic development project that can be implemented with professional service and technical support from NMMS. 

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