Created: 06/14/2014 10:27 AM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4
One couple has the recipe to bring new life to one of New Mexico's poorest communities.
There's not much for kids to do in Meadowlake, located just east of Los Lunas. But Tom Mraz and his wife, Maria, want to change that after seeing hope in the town's biggest building, which currently sits empty.
"It needs improvement, it needs help. There are a lot of poor people up here, but it doesn't mean they should be ignored," Tom said.
He worries a lot about Meadowlake's kids.
"There's nothing to do… but get into trouble," he said.
So Tom and Maria had a thought. The old senior center was in danger of shutting down. It's one of the biggest buildings in Meadowlake and is hardly used.
"When there's things available and they're not being utilized that's a failure," Tom said.
So the couple decided to turn this place into a small business incubator, and a place where young people and older folks alike can gather and be productive.
The fully-licensed kitchen he says will be used by cooks who want to sell their creations.
"It's open to their imaginations the things they'll be able to do," Tom said.
Common rooms will be open for game nights and high-speed internet will be available for everyone to use.
Along with representatives from Valencia County and Los Lunas priest Robert Mundy, the dream is becoming reality.
"People, they just want to raise their family. They just want to have a decent home for them and a decent community and we're trying to make it just better for everybody," Tom said.
State police tell us they will also open up an office at the community center to increase law enforcement presence in Meadowlake.
The South Valley small business incubator is also involved in getting the project off the ground.