Marcus De Thouars, new director of the Robert H. Goddard Planetarium, center, discusses the number of visitors to the planetarium while Roswell Museum and Art Center Director Michael Hall, left, and Chaves County Tourism Council Chairwoman Judy Stubbs, right, listen in at Monday’s tourism council meeting in Roswell. (Randal Seyler Photo)
The Robert H. Goddard Planetarium has made a comeback, thanks largely due to the city’s new planetarium director Marcus De Thouars.
De Thouars told the Chaves County Tourism Council on Monday that 1,700 visitors had attended programs at the planetarium during the UFO Festival.
More than 2,000 visitors have been through the planetarium since July.
De Thouars was named the director for the planetarium in June and he is paid through cooperation between the Roswell Independent School District and the city of Roswell, said Judy Stubbs, chairwoman of the tourism council.
The planetarium presented a number of programs during the UFO Festival and more shows are planned for the immediate future, De Thouars said. “I have to leave at 11 to go present a show for the Yucca Center,” he added.
The 120-seat Robert H. Goddard Planetarium presents star shows, multi-media presentations, and hands-on activities for children and families that help visitors understand the changing universe and the impact of space science on our lives, according to the Roswell Museum and Art Center website. The planetarium was opened in 1969 and is a collaboration between the Roswell Independent School District and the Roswell Museum and Art Center.
The planetarium director wants to offer regular presentations for the public and make the planetarium an integral part of the community, he said.
“We’re in the process of developing a long-term schedule,” De Thouars said.
He also noted that the Super Moon occurred this past weekend, although in southeast New Mexico, clouds blocked the view of the night skies for most of the evening.
“We’re just so happy to have Marcus at the planetarium, he is doing a wonderful job,” Stubbs said, “and we are grateful to the city and the school district for working together to put him here.”
The tourism council, which consists of volunteers who work to enhance local tourism, met at the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico on Monday and heard updates from members on the various upcoming events that will take place in Roswell in the coming months.
City Planner Marlin Johnson also updated the council on the city’s efforts to get the Comprehensive Master Plan and the Main Street Master Plan updated.
Developing a Comprehensive Master Plan is a process that determines community goals and aspirations in terms of community development. The comprehensive plan may dictate public policy in terms of transportation, utilities, land use, recreation, and housing. Comprehensive plans typically encompass large geographical areas, a broad range of topics, and cover a long-term time horizon.
The city approved its budget in July, and there is money in the budget to pay for the work on the master plans, Johnson said.
Johnson said the Comprehensive Master Plan has not been updated since 2005 and is in need of revision. “I am working on the RFP (Request for Proposals) to update the Comprehensive Master Plan and hopefully we can get a consultant capable of doing both plans,” he said.
Johnson said it is important that Roswell have a steering committee of 20-30 people in place to help with the development of the Comprehensive Master and Main Street plans. “If we don’t have a Comprehensive Master Plan, then the Main Street Plan is not going to mean much.”