Engage People, Revitalize Economies – Monte Alto Plaza, Mountainair

The Town of Mountainair received landscape design and placemaking assistance through NMMS’s Frontier Communities Initiative to transform an empty lot into a cohesive and walkable space that connects the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument Visitor Center, the Shaffer Hotel and the commercial district along Broadway (US 60). NMMS initially worked with the community to develop a Revitalization Plan and conceptual design for the Monte Alto Plaza to support community events, encourage revitalization of existing businesses and entice incoming travelers to the Salinas Missions to explore the town beyond the Visitor Center. Based on the high level of community participation in the design phase and hands on cleanup and build-out of the site, the community received two grants from NMMS funding partners to begin implementing the project. The first was a $5,000 seed grant from the NM Resiliency Alliance to build a pea gravel walkway and plant heritage fruit trees. The second was a $15,000 corporate donation from the NM Gas Company to build and entryway, seating, and shade structure. Sadly, some of the excitement was dimmed by a very bad fire that destroyed 3 downtown commercial structures adjacent to the plaza in December 2016. NMMS put together a resource team to evaluate the fire’s impacts on the community and work with the town to develop next steps and strategies for addressing the cleanup of the site. Based on recommendations from the resource team assessment and community engagement the town and residents decided to turn a Revitalization Plan for the Monte Alto Plaza into a full Metropolitan Redevelopment Plan that will address the revitalization needs of the whole downtown district.