Jill McLaughlin Photos Above: Gov. Susana Martinez addresses a crowd at Reischman Park on Main Street, Wednesday.
Martinez: “I brag about this part of the state all the time.”
Record Staff Writer
Gov. Susana Martinez stopped at the Roswell Rail Spur development and Reischman Park Wednesday to join the community in celebrating two economic development projects.
“I brag about this part of the state all the time,” Martinez told those who gathered at the site of the Roswell Rail Spur project. “We have a lot to be proud of and a lot to brag about.”
The project included the replacement of 1,000 feet of rail spur at Eighth Street and Railroad Avenue. The city received a $100,000 Local Economic Development Act from the state to help fund the rail’s construction.
The rail was upgraded to a thicker gauge of steel, placed by the Carlsbad-based company Southwestern Rail. This allows for 6-axle cars that were too heavy for the older track. It allows freight to be carried in via rail. It’s the only public spur within an 800-mile radius.
Martinez pointed out that the Rail Spur will be a “major selling point for businesses looking to expand here,” she said.
“This is an absolutely exciting time for the State of New Mexico,” said Bob Donnell, former executive director of the Economic Development Corporation of Roswell. “How proud we should be of ourselves for stepping up.”
The project helped save 17 jobs and create additional employment.
Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Martinez then headed downtown to commemorate the beginning of another economic development project.
Main Street Roswell’s planned redevelopment of Reischman Park, which recently received $100,000 in state grant funding, is expected to soon become a place for visitors and locals to enjoy future events.
The new park’s design will include several improvements that designers hope will entice people to sit and enjoy music, art or downtown scenery.
The L.J. Reischman Memorial Park was established in 1982. The land was gifted to the city by the Reischman family, following a fire that destroyed the former KBIM-TV Studio building in June 1977. The park was named for Lester J. Reischman who operated the Holsum Bakery with his son, Gene.
Wrought-iron arched grilles will mark the entry to the park. Each column will be placed under the existing stucco header, lit by ornamental LED lighting. Custom tile columns, new lights and decorative steel arches will create the entry for the park.
Inside, an Americans with Disabilities Act accessible stage, and children’s art will adorn the walls.
The park will become a venue for special events and the city’s Jazz festivals, said Main Street Director Dusty Huckabee.
Main Street was given a $100,000 grant by the state’s MainStreet Outlay fund. Together with city matching funds, the project represents, “a huge partnership” for Main Street Roswell,” Huckabee said.
“We’re just standing ready,” Huckabee said. “Most of all, we’re filling a space. For this to happen, is just phenomenal.”
Martinez said she looked forward to returning to Roswell to see the transformation of the park. The city was doing an amazing job in doing its part to diversify its economy, she said.
“No matter how big or small, we’ll be here to celebrate with you,” Martinez said.
Mayor Del Jurney invited Martinez to return in October to enjoy jazz music someday at the future Reischman Park, when improvements are complete.
“Governor, you are always welcome in our community,” Jurney said. “We want you to be proud of this.”