What if one act performed once a day for 30 days by you could result in bringing preservation dollars to Las Vegas? Would you do it? If the answer is YES, mark your calendar and get ready to log in every day to Vote Your Mainstreet. With enough participation and support, Las Vegas MainStreet de Las Vegas will receive $150,000 from the National Trust for Historic Preservation Partners in Preservation grant competition. The funds will be used to create a museum on the first floor of the historic E. Romero Hose & Fire Co. building on Bridge Street.
Partners in Preservation is an initiative created by the National Trust and American Express to engage the public in preserving and increasing awareness of America’s historic places and their role in sustaining local communities and economies.
Community partners in the original application include the City of Las Vegas, Friends of the City of Las Vegas Museum and Rough Rider Memorial, and Las Vegas Fire Department.
In this One Roof Publishing Q&A, MainStreet de Las Vegas executive director, Cindy Collins, talks about the importance of getting this grant and how it will be of benefit to Las Vegas and the area.
ORP: What is happening on Oct. 6 and how will it benefit the grant competition?
Cindy: This Friday, Oct. 6, is a Bridge Street Party, inviting the community from 5 – 7 p.m. to celebrate the E. Romero Hose & Fire Building and our chance to receive funds to renovate it into a museum to attract locals and visitors to Las Vegas. What will be happening:
ORP: What is the single most important message you want to convey to voters for this project?
Cindy: There is no one thing. The stories are compelling. Arthur Gonzales was the last Fire Chief of E. Romero Volunteer Fire Department, currently retired. He volunteers as chief of the Gallinas Volunteer Fire Department, one of 12 volunteer fire departments serving San Miguel County. Robert (Bob) Korte was the last Assistant Fire Chief of E. Romero Volunteer Fire Department. He owns Korte’s Furniture at 171 Bridge Street and volunteers at the Gallinas Volunteer Fire Department. They sat down with me last week to recount only some of the stories of E. Romero Hose & Fire Building.
As of Oct. 2, 2017, Las Vegas, N.M. ranks #7 among 25 downtown projects in all of America. It is our passion that has always made us strong and defines us. This project proves that Las Vegans care about our town and its history.
ORP: How is this different from a standard grant, if there is such a thing?
Cindy: Someone at the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington has taken note of Las Vegas, N.M. over the years. MainStreet LV received a letter from National Trust for Historic Preservation in June inviting us to apply for a culturally significant restoration project that was “shovel ready.” If our application was accepted we could receive $150,000 for that project. So MSLV board members Wid Slick, Michael Siewert, volunteer Ray Valdez and I went to work and submitted our application. In August, we were notified that we were accepted and among 25 others downtown MainStreet communities. We had to keep it confidential until September 25!
This is unlike any grant MSLV has experienced. A true gift, but only if everyone votes every day at VoteYourMainstreet.org. And if everyone in LV reminds their friends and family and shares on Facebook, we are sure to receive funding for E. Romero Hose & Fire Museum.
ORP: What is the story behind selecting this property for restoration?
Cindy: The following is the history of E. Romero Hose & Fire Building and how it was saved.
ORP: You are in the running against several projects nationwide. What sets the E. Romero Hose and Fire Building apart from your competitors?
Cindy: Well, gee, who doesn’t love firemen and firewomen and firetrucks and who else in the country has the oldest volunteer fire company that located their building in 1882 over the Acequia Madre?
ORP: Talk about the potential tourism impact.
Cindy: Already 100,000 votes had been cast in America, as reported by NTHP and its partner, American Express, which places Las Vegas 6th in the ranking on the date of the report. This means thousands of people are learning about Las Vegas.
In an e-mail to MainStreet de Las Vegas PIP partners wrote: We are seeing incredible media interest in Partners in Preservation at the local, regional, and national level. To date, we’ve seen a total of 224 placements (online, print, and broadcast), amounting to 527 million media impressions!
ORP: This will have an impact on the economy. Talk about that beyond its draw as a tourist destination.
Cindy: E. Romero Hose & Fire is right in the middle of Historic Bridge Street, arguably Las Vegas’ most important and potentially most economically potent area. The Las Vegas Fire & Water Museum is a key element of MSLV’s strategy for developing cultural magnets that will capitalize on Bridge Street’s historic ambience and attract visitors, businesses and jobs to the district. For example, the recent opening of Elmo Baca’s new Indigo Theatre, has been a welcome shot in the arm, helping to bring night life to the street.
Over the last few years incredible renovation projects have begun: Castaneda Hotel, Plaza Hotel, JC’s New York Pizza (with 3-lane bowling alley), Mayeur Projects art gallery, The Palms Event Center, Serf Theater on Douglas Avenue, Buena Vida Health & Wellness on East Lincoln, Rough Riders Antiques on Railroad, The Skillet on 12th Street, Borrachos Craft Brews & Booze, 3B Barbeque, Blowin’ In the Wind, Paper Trail, Ulibarri Candy Shop, Olivia’s Café and more. All are independent entrepreneurs who have creatively used or are renovating our historic buildings as their place of business.
A museum on Bridge Street will play an important role in MainStreet’s newest, and largest, economic development effort yet. Utilizing City of Las Vegas Lodgers Tax funds to market and fund tourism-related infrastructure projects will jump start a city-wide tourism development effort to benefit our local businesses, provide local jobs and continue the sense of pride in our town. Las Vegas is already experiencing growth in overnight visitation, with a 40 percent increase in the last four years. That means a need for more visitor amenities.
Who knows what the impact will be in Las Vegas, N.M. on our economy? MainStreet’s goal is to create a vibrant downtown that keeps our youth engaged, brings in tourism, brings dollars to our independent businesses so they can thrive and hire locally. We all know that Las Vegas has all the ingredients for success. Recent discussion with City of Las Vegas Lodgers Tax Advisory Board members has identified that dollars spent by tourists who visit our town can be used in part to beautify our town and attract tourism dollars.
ORP: What will the $150,000 grant award be used for?
Cindy: The E. Romero Hose & Fire Building will become a museum and a satellite museum of the Las Vegas City Museum. The $150,000 will be used entirely renovation of this building, which is currently a shell. Renovations include:
– pressed tin ceiling
– electrical lighting and power
– reinforcing existing retaining walls
– demolition of an out building in the alley
– a landscaped garden behind the building to feature Acequia Madre
– a steel tower for the recently recovered 1883 brass bell
– installing video surveillance
– pouring a concrete slab
– putting in a solar (heating) system
– adding a shade structure in back of the building
A local contractor will be hired for renovations.
ORP: Talk about the voting process.
Cindy: voteyourmainstreet.org is the only way to vote. This is a social media campaign by clicking on the website or going to MainStreetdeLasVegas Facebook page to vote. If you are having trouble voting, use these instructions – but vote, please!
Bookmark the site and do it again tomorrow and every day until the end of October. Share how easy it is with everyone you know who loves Las Vegas!
(Editor’s note: OR, you can log in with your Facebook account and avoid several of the steps and go right to the voting.)
ORP: Once MainStreet de Las Vegas receives this award, when will funding be released so work can begin?
Cindy: MSLV is working closely with the City of Las Vegas who owns the building. The city has been extremely supportive in this campaign and with our application. Once and IF the award is granted, we will meet as soon as possible to review the scope of work and how it can be accomplished within one year’s time. The top 25 communities will be notified on Nov. 2, 2017 and advised the amount they will receive to renovate their historic buildings.
Per the grant agreement from National Trust for Historic Preservation, the work must begin no later than July 1, 2018 and be completed by June 30, 2019. Las Vegas will get the job done!
ORP: What would you like to say that will emphasize the benefit Las Vegas and the area will derive from receiving the National Trust for Historic Preservation Partners in Preservation grant?
Cindy: Please vote every day for our E. Romero Hose & Fire Museum, Share this with friends who grew up here and care about our town and our history. Las Vegas can be the “little engine that could.” VoteYourMainstreet.org
What: Partners in Preservation
When: From Sept. 25 – Oct. 31
Where: Vote Your Mainstreet Project
Why: Create a museum inside E. Romero Hose & Fire Co. building on Bridge Street
Process: Cast 5 votes a day EVERY DAY, Sept. 25 – Oct. 31.