Citizens of and visitors to the City of Raton will soon be noticing a number of changes
beginning to take place around town, thanks to the city being the recipient of two grants to improve upon infra- structure. The total of both grants comes to over $800,000.
The first grant received is from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). This program provides annual grants on a formula basis to cities, states, and counties to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, primarily for low to moderate income persons. The CDBG grant is intended for and will be put to use improving upon infrastructure on the avenues west of Second Street in Raton. The planned improvements include upgrades to plumbing, sidewalk improvements, and much more, including the resurfacing of Third Street and other downtown streets this summer.
The second grant is from the Great Blocks Programs by the New Mexico Economic Development program. The funding received from this grant is dedicated to installing new sidewalks and upgrading existing ones; adding greenery; and updating existing as well as installation of new infrastructure. This grant was awarded to Raton Mainstreet, and through a partnership between them, New Mexico Mainstreet, and the City of Raton, will focus on improvements to First Street as well as the Avenues east of First Street.
“We will be the first MainStreet in New Mexico to have a completed Great Blocks project, which is a huge accomplishment due to the competitive process,” said Jessica Barfield, director of Economic Development for the City of Raton. Brenda Ferri, Director of Raton MainStreet, and Jason Phillips, Director of Raton Public Works, have both been instrumental in applying for and obtaining the grants which will allow for these beautification and upgrade projects.
Some work has already been completed along First Street in Raton, known as Phase One of the project, at the intersection of First Street and Cook Avenue. New sidewalks have been installed, as well as handicap ramps to access them. In addition, extended curbs have been placed at the intersection to deter drivers from speeding through the area and failing to stop at the stop signs. Lots of plant life has also been added to the already scenic area of Raton.
The landscape architects responsible for the updated, beautiful look are MRWM (Morrow Reardon Wilkinson Miller) Landscape Architects of Albuquerque, NM, who had also planned the curb bump-outs, sidewalk, and landscaping. Engineering Analytics, Inc., of Raton designed the storm inlets, traffic signs, and markings, and oversaw construction of the project.
Phase Two of the project is slated to begin in April of 2020, which includes upgrading the other remaining intersections along downtown First Street as well.