There was general consensus from the Las Cruces City Council at its Monday, May 9, 2022, work session to move forward with a proposed collaboration between the City and Sierra Norte Holdings, a limited liability Las Cruces company, that might literally pave the way for an approximately six-mile extension of Mesa Grande Drive, from U.S. Highway 70 to east Lohman Avenue.
Jim Webb, Chief Executive Officer of The Goodman Corp., Las Cruces developer John Moscatto, and City staff presented the proposal to City Council. No definitive cost for the proposed project was announced, but it was estimated the extension could cost $30 million to $50 million to build.
Webb said the extension of Mesa Grande Drive could be built with a combination of a federal grant and private funds. The City would sponsor the grant for the federal funds.
City Council acknowledged there would be benefits to extending Mesa Grande Drive, a north-and-south road that now ends at Organ Mountain High School. Traffic on U.S. 70, which also is part of north Main Street, would be reduced.
Also, an extension of Mesa Grande Drive would provide a safer route to Organ Mountain High School. Other potential benefits: the possibilities of providing 1,000 affordable housing units and 300 public subsidized affordable homes; improved emergency access with alternate routes on the east side of Las Cruces; and a tie-in to existing and future bicycle and pedestrian networks for improved multi-modal connectivity.
It is envisioned the extension of Mesa Grande Drive would be designed as a tree-lined, four lane, multi-way boulevard with space for walking and bicycling. The proposed extension would conform to the City’s Active Transportation Plan,; Complete Streets Ordinance, and Elevate Las Cruces.
Potential next steps include codifying an agreement between City Council, the City’s Legal Department and Sierra Norte Holdings, LLC; move into the planning and design process in partnership with the City; finalize a cost/benefit analysis of mobility and multiple other components; begin work toward completion of the federal environmental process; coordinate funding opportunities, particularly with the Mesilla Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization; and pursue funding.
Additionally, City Council received a brief update from the City’s Performance Management office regarding the realignment process for strategic planning. The presentation included a preview of the transparency portal for future performance reporting.
The Council was told the implementation of the City’s Strategic Plan is still very much a work in progress. More than 240 actions with milestones already have been identified and more than 80 actions with completion dates have been identified.
Of the hundreds of actions that have been identified, 60 actions are expected to be completed by 2023; 70 actions are expected to be completed in 2024; 77 actions should be completed by 2025; and 91 actions are anticipated to be completed by 2026.
Multiple rounds of internal work sessions have been conducted with City departments and organizational units to identify key barriers to strategy implementation; revisit the “high-performing organization” strategic result; and receive recommendations on quarterly strategic planning reporting. Currently, meetings are underway with City departments to refine their Department Strategic Business Plans for Fiscal Year 2023.