The FaÃ§ade Squad was out in full force on Saturday, scraping paint, filling cracks and improving the appearance of Roswellâ€™s downtown area.
The program, which began last year and is part of the New Mexico MainStreet project, awards two communities scholarships each year to clean up the faces of local buildings. Last yearâ€™s recipients were Santa Rosa and Clovis. This year it is Roswell and Lovington.
Dusty Huckabee, director of MainStreet Roswell, said the program is carried out by volunteers, but the scholarship funds will cover the cost of paint and other materials. A local company, Custom Construction & Roofing Inc., provided a lift for the group to use.
The group is currently concentrating on two buildings on the east side of North Main Street: the former J.C. Penney department store and an old hotel. The former hotel building currently houses Incare, but the upper level has been vacant for decades.
â€œOur dream is that we want to put artist studios up here, because we canâ€™t afford to put an elevator in there,â€ Huckabee said.
Huckabee estimates the Squad will have the two buildings completed in mid-September. â€œWeâ€™ve got a lot of patchwork to do and then weâ€™re going to power-wash the whole thing,â€ he said, adding the group will return to apply stucco and paint.
Huckabee said MainStreet Roswell just received a $2,500 grant for the park just across the street. â€œWeâ€™re going to do a complete makeover,â€ he said. â€œWeâ€™re partnering with the Roswell Museum and Art Center for a centennial project for our statehood anniversary next year.â€
Huckabee said the group has big plans for the downtown area. â€œWe really want to start getting young people downtown and having more activities.â€