By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer
Elida has been undergoing a four-year-long cleanup aimed at making it a more attractive place to live.
Led by members of the town government, volunteers have removed old cars, landscaped, picked up trash and otherwise cleaned up. Now, a $700,000 grant from Gov. Richardson’s Investment Partnership II is paying for road improvements; pavement of curbs, gutters and sidewalks; and landscaping on the town square, as well as street repairs on the east and west side of Allsup’s Convenience Store.
Mayor Durward Dixon said he hoped the road work would finish in March and the landscaping by June.
Elida Trustee Kay Nuckols helped start the beautification efforts.
“It’s a great community,” she said. “But not everybody knows that.”
Nuckols hopes the work will help people appreciate Elida and attract them to move to town. Dixon would like to attract new businesses as well.
About four years ago, Nuckols said, the town’s beautification began in earnest.
“You don’t just clean things up overnight,” Nuckols said.
After Nuckols was elected mayor, the town started enforcing codes and sending letters to asking residents to clean up their property. Cleaning lots and removing old cars followed, and people became involved, she said.
The town had to raise money and find someone to take old cars. Dixon said the work wouldn’t have been affordable without the donated time of community members.
The town upgraded its water system to avoid summer shortages so residents could better maintain their lawns, he said.
Nuckols said New Mexico Clean and Beautiful grants Town Clerk Sandra Monks applied for every year paid for landscaping, and Elida town employees Lonnie Jones, Charlie Winter and Judy Dukes helped with a variety of tasks.
“The whole town’s been working really hard to clean up,” she said.
In the future, Nuckols would like to replace Elida’s chip-sealed roads with asphalt, remove abandoned buildings and get a community center.
In the meantime, she said the town council would keep cleaning.