Editor's Note: This is part 9, the final of a multi-part series of articles on the Prospectors' Legislative Communication Forum, held Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015, at Western New Mexico University's Light Hall. This article will conclude the non-profit/community presentations and the all-day session.

Bruce Ashburn, Prospectors president, served as the moderator in front of Sen. Howie Morales, Rep. Dianne Hamilton and Rep. John Zimmerman.

Tour of the Gila Race director Jack Brennan, said: "The Tour of the Gila is not asking for state legislative money."

I'll give you a summary of last year," Brennan said. "We applied for and got a Tourism event grant for $15,000.

"We created a New Mexico True Jersey for the courageous man and woman riders," he continued. "We promoted right up to the race on Facebook and Twitter. Talk about how things increase on Facebook, Twitter and the website. We did a good job of promoting Grant County as a great place to visit, hike and bike."

He said the event grants are now based on attendance, with a maximum of $10,000. The Tour of the Gila also applied for a Community Investment Fund grant under tourism.

"We do see the employment and the need for tourism," Brennan said. "We are determining how to use the Freeport money to promote to national and international markets.

"For 2016, we have changed the race dates to May 4-8," he said. "What it does is it will allow an open week when usually we held our race. After the national race in Arkansas, there will be a week off, then the Tour of the Gila, a week off and then the Tour of California. The off week brings in teams who set up camps. I'm working with the hotels as an economic incentive to bring in more revenue.

"The Tour of the Gila puts us on the international map," Zimmerman said.

"I would love to see more New Mexico funding," Brennan said.

"I've been here since the beginning of the race," Hamilton said. "I remember when the Tour of the Gila almost didn't happen, but you pulled it out.

"This might be my last race," Brennan said. "My mind has changed. I've been feeling bad about USA Cycling not appreciating the Tour of the Gila. I've never felt love from USA Cycling.

"I won the 2001 Mogollon Race," he continued. "The new director of USA Cycling knows the quality of the event. I may want to stick around to feel the love."

"If it is your last year, know we appreciate what you've accomplished," Morales said. "If not, your last year, we'll continue to help."

"I want to thank you for your support for events in tourism," Brennan said. "You kept pushing."

"I want to make sure any increase goes to local events," Morales said. "I do want to make sure we expand the discussion with Economic Development.

"I thank Nancy for her support of you and the Tour of the Gila," Morales said. "And thanks to Silver City for pulling out the Tour of the Gila to make sure it happened."

Ashburn who had continued to serve as moderator said he would have to leave. Before he left, he said Brennan was a finalist in the Top Hat state award.

"We have to take off our hats to the Prospectors," Ashburn said. "Thank you to Julie Morales, Kim Clark and Terry Anderson and a special thank you for Kim and Priscilla Lucero for putting the books together. Thank you to our elected officials."

Terry Anderson, Prospector, introduced the Silver City MainStreet Project's board president, Patrick Hoskins, and board member Evangeline Zamora

"I wish more of the community heard a lot of these presentations," Hoskins said. "It's not just an abstraction. It shows so many people care. A shout out to the community.

"We're here on behalf of the New Mexico MainStreet Program," he continued. "First, we are asking for an increase to recurring funding to over $1.4 million. Rich Williams has helped us accomplish what we want to do.

"Second, state MainStreet is asking for increasing the allocation for public infrastructure projects to $5 million," Hoskins said. "On Silver City MainStreet Projects 30th anniversary, we want to continue to do what we want to do. We lend our support to increasing the tax credit from $25,000 to $1 million for preserving historic properties. For the MainStreet Plaza downtown, we want public restrooms and a comprehensive way of funding for downtown for tourists.

"I've been on the MainStreet Board for seven years," Zamora said. "It is a very united committee. We have no reason to leave Silver City downtown. It is so beautiful. Thank you. The seats for the Silco will be installed next week (Dec. 7)."

"We will open (the Silco) as soon as we can," Hoskins said. "We have written all the checks."

"I have heard so many times about the example of the MainStreet Project in Silver City," Zimmerman said. "There's no comparison to other MainStreet projects. Silver City is cited as an example for many rural communities. It makes me proud that it's part of my district. I have seen continual improvements. My hat's off to you."

"The project has been recognized nationally," Hamilton said. "I was around at the beginning. Thank you for what you do."

"We were one of the first communities to be a MainStreet community and we are the only one that remains accredited," Hoskins said.

"I know you're advocating for state funding," Morales said. "Are you still selling seats?"

"We are," Hoskins said. "We have a program that you can sponsor a theater seat for $200 each. There will be a cut-off date soon. Talk to me or Evangeline or call the MainStreet office."

Morales suggested they not put deadlines on the sponsorship. "Keep it going. I have heard conversations with the community and business owners to have MainStreet Mondays in the community for outreach."

"We have begun business visits to learn the needs and so they know about our offerings," Hoskins said.

Fort Bayard Historic Preservation Society, represented by Cecilia Bell, Santa Clara Mayor Richard Bauch, and Santa Clara Clerk Sheila Hudman led the last presentation.

A PowerPoint presentation was shown.

"Rep. Manny Herrera in 2009 got us money for the theater," Bell said. "We need to move on with our new project. We have reached the point where the doors in the theater need to be fixed on the inside of the theater. The jambs are broken. We use chains to secure them. There are cracks that need to be fixed. The building needs to be kept up and used. We have $395,000 of state money into this building. We need to finish it.

"The projected repair is to use what can be used, but we need new doors," Bell continued. "Property Management has worked with us, but the Department of Health doesn't have the money to maintain the doors. If we can get some funding, Santa Clara will be the fiscal agent.

She said the village needs a lease on the theater and the museum.

"We have plans not to let it deteriorate further," Bell said. "Next year is the 150th birthday of Fort Bayard. Will it be without a celebration or activities?"

Hamilton asked Bell how long she has been part of Fort Bayard.

"Since 1997," Bell said. "It's time to move on and complete repairs to the fort."

"You're like Jack. You can't say 'No,'" Hamilton said. "This is a whole city."

"You're so loyal and faithful to this process," Morales said. "I appreciate you and the good doctor. You are requesting a $100,000 appropriation to Santa Clara as the fiscal agent?"

"We're in negotiations with General Services Department to be the lead," Hudman said.

"Who is responsible for upgrades to the plumbing and electrical systems?" Morales asked and Hudman said the village didn't know yet.

"The Lion's Club gave us a donation for a business plan," Hudman said. "It has been suggested the theater heating could be electric. Secretary Ryan Flynn had asked to use the theater for the Copper Rule meeting, but we had to change it because the theater has no heat."

"It's going to be a significant cost," Morales said. "I want to make sure it is not assessed to you. If you accept the responsibility, I don't think the village constituents want to be on the hook for the costs for what the state should be responsible for.

"We can appropriate to General Services or Department of Health, but I don't think that's the best option," he said. "I would like to see what we can do for further assistance. Cecilia, if you want a celebration, you will not have the doors fixed or heating in the building."

"We can do activities up to then at the armory and on the parade ground," Bell said. "Maybe we will have the celebration in 2017 as a new beginning.
We cannot accept grants until the buildings are leased."

"Be aware that you cannot allow the state to wash their hands of it," Morales said. "A word of caution that the village not become responsible for it."

"In January, we will have a program on Remington and soldiers," Bell said. "We are bridging Fort Bayard and Santa Clara. The cabinets and the adobe bricks were made in Santa Clara."

Morales suggested collaborating with the MRAC Youth Mural Project.

"I'm an optimist and am a strong advocate with General Services and Cultural Affairs on Fort Bayard," Zimmerman said. "I brought this up last week—the condition of the buildings and the state letting the buildings deteriorate. Trying to get state government to move is difficult.

"Fort Bayard is getting some attention, but not enough," he continued. "I would love to see a lease. I will do whatever I can do to shed light on the difficulties in getting on site. I applaud your effort on a business plan for Fort Bayard. That is the type of thing that will bring economic development to Fort Bayard.

"One of the reasons I have stayed is to meet distant relatives of people who lived and worked at Fort Bayard," Bell said. "A woman came to Fort Bayard because her great-grandfather of the Capshaw family lived here. The woman's great-grandfather was the mayor of Santa Clara."

"I thank the three of you for your commitment to the community," Anderson said to the legislators. "You give us such direction. We're here to support you."

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