The 4th Street Revitalization of the Village of Los Ranchos transformed the corridor into an economic and civic hub for this small municipality in Bernalillo County’s North Valley. The project includes both master planning and design of this Route 66 remnant. The former two-lane street without pedestrian facilities is now a right-of-way composed of roadways, utility poles, primarily asphalt with undefined parking and no pedestrian or biking improvements. Local residents, merchants and visitors will benefit as this thoroughfare transforms into the neighborhood spine—a complete street with restaurants, commerce, sidewalks, landscaping, and civic spaces. The project focused on strategies that could promote the commercial revitalization of the businesses in the corridor while encouraging a mixed land use pattern. Sites Southwest identified areas with the highest commercial potential through a market study which included surveys of businesses and residents and created a land use plan and catalytic project zones to encourage development in those nodes. Outside the commercial nodes, the revitalization strategy recommends mixed uses. The plan provided information regarding community demographics and retail expenditure potential as well as background information on local businesses. Following the conclusion of master planning efforts, the project team moved on to the total redesign of the corridor.
In partnership with Civic Plan Studio, the team led a planning and urban design team in preparing the master plan for the 150-acre East Lohman Site, a city and privately owned property on the east side of Las Cruces. Following a market study, the plan envisions a mixed-use community that is pedestrian-oriented and environmentally sensitive, with neighborhood centers that complement existing land uses. The plan also included strategies for urban design and development implementation. This plan was especially significant because it included a collaboration with city stakeholders and a community engagement process that engaged the public and helped shape the Development Plan. The Plan was enthusiastically approved by both government and residents.
The public engagement process was designed to hear from all stakeholders. Design workshops, public meetings to review planning studies, and final public hearings were also attended by key stakeholders and residents. Following the initial discussions, we developed three alternative plans, each with a distinct programmatic focus and urban structure. Each scenario included a variety of creative pedestrian-oriented and urban design concepts. The final development plan was approved, resulting in a plan that benefited from our close working relationships with City, NMSU staff, and MountainView Medical Center staff, residents, elected officials, real estate professionals, and business leadership. We also created an implementation plan and a set of recommendations that will allow the city to maintain its role as master developer while collaborating with local developers to execute projects that are consistent with the Plan’s vision.
Los Lunas Transportation Center Master Plan and Metropolitan Redevelopment Plan
Los Lunas needed to spur more interest in developing its Transportation Center into a walkable, mixed-use, transit-oriented area. In the heart of the historic village, the station building, and surroundings had been a regional transportation hub since 2006, serving the Rail Runner Express train system and local buses. The surrounding private land was not developing into the envisioned higher density residential and commercial uses. To spur this development, Sites documented the information necessary to designate it as a metropolitan redevelopment area and created an MRA plan to target specific projects and make available financial incentives for their development. Sites Southwest drew on several past local planning efforts to create the new redevelopment plan.
Sites Southwest upheld the Village’s vision to create “a vibrant, walkable Village Center that serves local resident and visitors, provides a variety of attainable housing options, promotes economic development, and supports increased Rail Runner and transit ridership” and identified land use and urban design recommendations to support it. This plan identifies space for multifamily housing, ground-floor retail, commercial office space, outdoor civic spaces and multimodal circulation improvements to make the area a friendly place to walk and bike, and work and live.
Sites Southwest was hired to update the Village’s existing Comprehensive Plan, with a focus on economic development, recreation, tourism, and transportation improvements. The Village wishes to diversify its economy while continuing to serve its residents and tourists. The first phase included a series of meetings with Ruidoso’s leaders, community, and stakeholders, in which over 250 people took part. These meetings’ feedback influenced the plan. During the community meeting visioning exercise, the natural beauty, desirable climate, abundant outdoor recreation opportunities, supportive community, and friendly people in the small-town atmosphere were prioritized. The Ruidoso community established six guiding principles to represent community priorities identified during the comprehensive planning process. These principles uphold the vision for Ruidoso and are supported by all the goals, policies, and actions identified in each chapter of the plan.
Sites Southwest has completed a designation report and MRA plan for a 2.5 mile stretch of Sudderth Drive in Ruidoso, New Mexico. This commercial corridor includes Ruidoso’s iconic Midtown District as well as gateway areas east and west of Midtown. This corridor is the economic lifeblood of the Village. The corridor is primarily commercial, with retail, services, lodging and office along its length. Goals for redevelopment include expanding allowable uses through zoning ordinance revisions, utilizing Village owned properties to support housing and economic development, and improving the physical appearance of the corridor through streetscape improvements and addressing vacant and deteriorating buildings and sites. Pedestrian improvements are also proposed. Most public meetings have been held virtually because of restrictions on in-person events. The MRA plan contains goals for land use policy that will foster the economic growth of the Village. The zoning code update is the opportunity to incorporate these goals into Village policy.
Town of Bernalillo Local Economic Development Act Plan
The Town of Bernalillo has begun to emerge as an attractive destination within the Albuquerque Metropolitan Region for retirees, younger families, and small business owners. This reputation is one that has taken time to grow, but provides a glimpse of what Bernalillo could become: a place with improved resident incomes and low rates of poverty, a stable economy with a diverse range of local businesses, an active tourism scene, a well-trained workforce, and a distinctive, small-town identity rooted in the Town’s cultural history. A dwindling supply of developable land, low resident incomes and education levels, and uncertainty about the state economy are all challenges that were discussed during preparation of the plan. Perhaps the greatest challenge for Bernalillo is to continue to build local community capacity so the Town benefits from opportunities as they arise.
The Local Economic Development Act Plan provides the framework for continued investment in the community’s manufacturing and retail businesses. The plan identifies target businesses that can take advantage of the Town’s location and transportation infrastructure and proposes infrastructure investments in six target areas for industrial, retail and office growth. The plan further proposes three Town owned sites that could be the catalyst for new business ventures.