A A nearly million-dollar streetscape plan for the historic railroad district in Las Vegas, New Mexico has Allan Affeldt talking.
“The hope is that it will be a catalyst that will transform the whole neighborhood and inspire people to invest in old buildings,” said Affeldt, who in 2019 brought the Hotel Castañeda back to life, a former Fred Harvey hotel in the city. district which closed in 1948.
Las Vegas’ MainStreet has received more than $900,000 from New Mexico’s Great Blocks on MainStreet program to improve the two-block area along Railroad Avenue and East Lincoln Street, and the city plans to invest approximately $100,000 from more for improvements, said Michael Peranteau, executive director of the local organization.
MainStreet Las Vegas aims to promote economic development while preserving historical, cultural and architectural resources.
The Railroad District project includes a new street, sidewalks, lights, trees and benches.
The project will not only benefit the Railroad District, but also downtown and historic Bridge Street.
“It will connect the neighborhoods in a much stronger way to this historic part of downtown,” said Affeldt, who has invested $5 million in the Castañeda and owns the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas. “It will encourage people to come back to discover this important shopping district.”
A block away, Vicki and Daniel Joslin plan to open a women’s clothing store in April. They bought a building for ReRuns on RailRoad partly because of the streetscape project.
“I just felt like it had a lot of possibilities,” said Vicki Joslin, a retired elementary school teacher whose husband, a retired land surveyor, grew up in Las Vegas. “I hope we will be in one of the most promising areas that will be revived.”
The Railroad District also includes the Amtrak station, home to the Las Vegas Visitor Center; Rough Rider Antiques; the Rawlings Building, a former Harvey Girls dorm that owners Tom and Tina Clayton have renovated into apartments and commercial space; and additional businesses.
Pacheco Construction and Trucking of Tucumcari began the two-block project on March 14 and plans to complete it this summer, Peranteau said. Las Vegas’ MainStreet will seek funding to expand the project by two additional blocks, he added.
A total of $2.2 million in infrastructure improvements is planned.
Mayor Louie Trujillo said he thinks rail district renovations will make the area more attractive to tourists.
“It will really improve the appeal of this whole neighborhood,” Trujillo said. “The mission is to keep ‘Main Street’ alive in these communities.”