Annual updates from three of four economic development partners to the City of Las Cruces were provided to the City Council during a Monday, Aug. 8, 2022 work session in Council Chambers at City Hall, 700 N. Main St.
Film Las Cruces, the Farmers and Crafts Market of Las Cruces, and the Downtown Las Cruces Partnership each reviewed metrics that were mutually established with City Council and then reported on accomplishments and challenges in 2021.
A fourth economic development partner, Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance (MVEDA), did not make a presentation at the work session. MVEDA will present its annual report to City Council at an October work session.
The highlight of Film Las Cruces’ presentation was that it met annual goals in nine categories: production permits; production days; local spending, in dollars, by filmmakers; creating and maintaining film-friendly businesses; increasing film locations within the city; expanding worker days for local residents on film crews; total hotel nights for films productions in the city; increasing Las Cruces film crew positions; and funding of films. Of those categories, the number of worker days exceeded what had been projected for the year by 1,391 percent, or 10,429 days, while the total number of hotel room nights was 854 percent more than estimated, and local spending for film productions was 796 percent, or $7,962,591, of what Film Las Cruces had targeted.
In 2021, 32 film permits were issued in Las Cruces. Also, 114 city businesses were utilized for film productions.
The Farmers and Crafts Market of Las Cruces also experienced success last year. The number of permanent vendors at the Farmers and Crafts Market, 159, has returned to its pre-COVID pandemic level.
Downtown Las Cruces Partnership (DLCP) also enjoyed a successful 2021-2022 fiscal year. Thirteen new businesses have been added in downtown Las Cruces during the past year, 59 new jobs have been added, and $2.58 million in private improvements have been made. Also, the Las Cruces Arts and Cultural District, as part of DLCP, has built on three established programs: Ventanas Vivas, Artists in Residence, and the Generations Community Writing Project.
The Las Cruces Arts and Cultural District also completed Phase I of a walking tour highlighting properties in the Mesquite neighborhood.
Additionally at Monday’s work session, the Council received a quarterly update from the City’s Sustainability Office. Each quarter, the Sustainability Office provides City Council with an update on the progress and opportunities related to sustainability, most often through the lens of climate change.
Specifically, Monday’s presentation focused on electric vehicles, active transportation, and transit as those topics relate to the City’s Climate Action Plan. The Council learned the installation of Cool Green Bikes Lanes on some city streets has reduced surface temperatures on those streets by 10 to 12 degrees, and the green-colored bike lanes are reflective at night.
The Council was also told five electric buses have been ordered for RoadRUNNER Transit, with production anticipated to begin in early September. The electric buses could begin to be delivered to the City in April 2023. The electric buses should be 85 percent less expensive to operate when they all become operational. The City’s fleet will continue its transition to electric vehicles.
City Council also received a quarterly update Monday from the Alliance for Regional Military Support (ARMS) Committee. The committee’s presentation included a brief overview of ARMS’ most recent activities in support of the City and White Sands Missile Range.
Also included was a tentative schedule of upcoming meetings and events with military leadership and defense contractors at WSMR, Fort Bliss, and Holloman Air Force Base. City Council was urged by ARMS officials to collaborate with the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce to send representatives to the Association of the of United States Army national convention, in October, to meet military defense contractors.
Several City Councilors expressed their interest in attending the national conference.