As the Complete Streets construction nears, concerns emerge about historic designation

Complete Street construction anticipated to begin in January

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
The City of Farmington anticipates construction will begin on the downtown Complete Streets project in January.

FARMINGTON — Keeping downtown Farmington's historical designation could be a challenge as the city moves forward with its $12.7 million renovation project on Main Street.

Assistant City Manager Julie Baird told the Farmington City Council earlier this week that the downtown is considered mid-century, and that time period tended to have narrow sidewalks.

The idea for the downtown Complete Streets project is to increase walkability and revitalize the central part of the city. One way the city will do that is by widening the sidewalks.

Baird said the city has been working with the state’s historic preservation division on a compromise and currently has conditional approval.

She said the city may be able to keep the historic designation by creating the visual appearance of narrower sidewalks. This would be done by using two types of material on the sidewalks.

More:Farmington to spend $21 million on downtown projects

“It may come to the point, I hope not, but it may come to the point of weighing our vision for economic vitality and place making in downtown with keeping the historic recognition designation,” Baird said. “Not that it would change our buildings or the time period that is represented there, but it may change whether or not we have that designation.”

The Totah Theater is pictured, Friday, March 29, 2019, in downtown Farmington. City officials hope to preserve the downtown district's historical designation while upgrading pedestrian amenities in an area it hopes to turn into a vibrant arts and commercial hub.

The City Council heard a presentation about the Complete Streets project on Sept. 10. The presentation included details about the planned upgrades, including water and electrical infrastructure as well as gateway monuments marking the start and end of the downtown.

Details about the project can be found at HQ located at 119 W. Main St. People can also learn about the project by viewing the City Council meeting online at The Metropolitan Redevelopment Area Commission will also hear an update on the Complete Streets project when it meets at 4 p.m. Sept. 17 at HQ.

The city anticipates construction will likely begin in January.

The project's funding comes from various sources, including $2 million for stormwater infrastructure that will be funded by the New Mexico Environment Department’s Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund. The city also refinanced bonds in 2017 to fund part of the project.

During the Sept. 10 meeting, Mayor Nate Duckett emphasized the project's value.

“This is the first and last thing that you see of our city,” he said. “This is going to leave the impression ... of who we are.”

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at

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