Farmington to spend $21 million on MRA projects
FARMINGTON — The city of Farmington will spend approximately $21 million on two major downtown projects that officials say will change the appearance of the area.
Construction began today on an expansion of the Farmington Civic Center, and the city had a kickoff meeting last month for the Complete Streets project. The Complete Streets project is aimed at revitalizing downtown.
A total of $11.5 million will be spent on expanding the Farmington Civic Center and about $9.4 million will be spent on the Complete Streets project.
During a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for the Farmington Civic Center expansion, Mayor Tommy Roberts touted the fact that the city will not raise taxes on residents to pay for the two major projects. The Civic Center expansion is funded through a fee levied on people staying in hotels in Farmington. The money can only be used on projects like the Farmington Civic Center expansion.
The majority of the Complete Streets project will be funded through the refinancing of bonds.
"The public expenditure, I think, is necessary in order to create the private interest downtown," Roberts said.
The projects were identified in the 2009 Metropolitan Redevelopment Area plan. The Metropolitan Redevelopment Area is a region consisting of downtown, the Civic Center and surrounding neighborhoods and the Animas River district, including the San Juan Regional Medical Center. The plan highlights several priority projects, including the expansion and renovation of the Farmington Civic Center and the Complete Streets project.
The MRA plan identified the Civic Center as "strategically important, both as a development site and as a linkage to both the Civic Center neighborhood and the historic downtown." The Civic Center expansion project will include a 5,500-square-foot expansion at the north end of the existing ballroom, as well interior and exterior renovations.
"This project will fundamentally change the face of downtown," said Cory Styron, the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs director.
While the expansion project is underway, the city will still host Christmas and holiday season celebrations, including Miracle on Main Street.
City Councilor Nate Duckett said the Civic Center expansion will provide a space for the community to use.
"I think we're all very excited to see another amenity downtown improved upon," he said.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at email@example.com.