Residents draw up downtown dreams

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

Community members, business owners and officials met for a design session Saturday morning as part of the Portales Downtown Plan.

During the session, participants were able to break into small groups and lay out designs they envisioned for the downtown area. Most groups agreed that the area needed to be more pedestrian friendly. Other ideas also included eating establishments, an art and cultural district, a place to host free outdoor movies during the summer, a brew pub, living area and tying the whole town together.

“I realize it will take a lot of work, but somebody has to do it,” said Portales resident Michael Holmes, one of the participants.

Holmes, who moved to the area last year, is willing to become involved in the community and the downtown plan in an effort to help not only the downtown area grow, but Portales in general, he said.

“If I’m going to live here, I want it to be the best it can be,” Holmes said.

Holmes added the whole community and Eastern New Mexico University would benefit from working together. Providing more options for the community to choose from would help people to stay in the area instead of traveling out of town.

“It could help out the university and the town,” Holmes said.

From the perspective of a downtown business owner, Danny Woodward is enthusiastic to see the revitalization of the downtown area. Tying in the downtown area with other areas in the community that have been revamped and developed would be a positive influence for the community, he said.

“It’s something positive for our community, not negative coffee shop talk,” Woodward said.

Resident and Portales City Council member Diane Parker is also by the development of a plan for the downtown area. She said people involved in the project are very excited and versatile, with a willingness to get the project up and running, she said.

“I think if people see the little things going on downtown they will become encouraged and excited,” Parker said.

“It would be neat to see a big-town mentality in a small town,” Holmes said.