By Cassie McClure and Suzanne Michaels
Published in Las Cruces Bulletin 7/5/19
It’s 8 a.m. and 3 employees in the Las Cruces Collision Center (524 N. Valley Drive) are already hard at work: one woman stands on a wooden box to gain height while putting finishing touches on a hood; another employee works on the brake lights of a car. Business is now humming along at Valley Drive near W. Hadley Avenue, just like cars going through the new stretch of road.
Owner Joaquin “Jack” Favela has had a front seat view of the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) development on Valley Drive since the beginning. The road reconstruction is now complete in front of the Collision Center, and now, he says, it’s much easier to get in and out of his parking lot.
Even through the construction, business remained steady with insurance claims work… but Favela says his chief “win” was keeping the old school sign that now advertises Las Cruces Collision Center out in front. “They don’t make them like that anymore,” Favela notes. The sign was grandfathered-in from 1961… but, he says, there was a debate over whether it needed to come down with the construction.
“I told them, ‘This has been here so long, and I think there are laws to keep it here,’” Favela said. He was right and the sign got to stay.
Favela only moved his business to Valley Drive 3 years ago, with 8 years in business. “We’re sorry for the road reconstruction inconvenience to our customers and we understood the frustration, but through it all we were very much open and ready to help get customers get back in their cars as fast as possible with quality work,” he said.
Favela still grumbles that communication with NMDOT contractors at the beginning was nearly as bumpy as the road during construction. He says workers would park in his parking lot, but after reaching out to construction supervisors, he was able to get them to move their vehicles. Now he’s still talking to supervisors who are putting finishing touches on the road and giving them feedback.
“It’s good to have access back and we welcome our customers,” said Favela. “Valley Drive is open and flowing near us, and we’re open for business!”
You can provide your feedback to NMDOT project supervisors and stay informed about the developments on Valley Drive at the next public meeting, Tuesday, July 16th, at Thomas Branigan Memorial Library in the Roadrunner Room from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. More information at www.valleydrive.net. For immediate concerns, please contact Ryan Tafoya, project manager, at 575-418-7891.
The NMDOT Valley Drive road reconstruction project is scheduled for completion in early 2020; in the meantime, the City of Las Cruces encourages residents to continue supporting local businesses and stores on Valley Drive.
PHOTO 1: The Las Cruces Collision Center has had steady work during the Valley Drive NMDOT road reconstruction; now the road is complete and open in front of the business, and access is fast and clean.