Created: 01/27/2014 5:50 PM
By: Devin Neeley, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Downtown Farmington is filled with historical buildings, shops and businesses and increasingly, empty store fronts.
That’s why Farmington city leaders are working to revitalize the downtown.
“Otherwise we get degradation, we get abandonment, we get blighted areas. That’s what we're considering we're in, we're in a blighted area down there,” said Derald Polston.
And the city wants to start with signs. But not just any ordinary signs, the plan is for four signs costing $135,000. The signs will be bigger than the ones downtown now, and they'll light up. It’s all part of the Downtown Gateway Project. City leaders say the goal is to clearly mark the downtown area.
Construction plans for the Downtown Gateway Project are due in April. KOB Eyewitness News 4 asked downtown business owners what they thought of the plan.
“It’s something that Farmington needs. I think that we have a valuable piece of real estate that needs to be developed,” said Vince Ferrari, owner of Wal-Art in Farmington.
Karen Ellsbury says she doesn't think it can hurt. Ellsbury owns and operates 116 Art Gallery and studio downtown.
“Anything we can do to bring attention to our town, to make our town more vibrant, to make it an exciting place for young people to stay, or for the baby boomers to retire here, the more activity we have, the more arts, the more outdoor activities, I think all those things just make this a better place to live,” she said.
$135,000 might sound like a lot for just four signs, but the city says a lot of that money will go toward tearing up the street and making sure all the electrical wiring is laid in properly.
“We want to let them know that we are open for business and we want let them know that we do want them to come into the downtown and spend money,” Polston said.
The downtown gateway project is the first of so called "catalyst projects."
Officials are also looking at plans to bring life back to Farmington’s animas riverfront as well.