By Lupita P. Gonzales
For the Optic
A crowd nearing 100 in number gathered at the Bridge Street Breezeway event celebrating Bridge Street’s designation of “One of 10 Great Streets in America” Saturday.
The crowd was regaled by the music of New Mexico Highlands University Vaqueros de la Sierra, directed by Benny Lucero.
Cindy Collins, executive director of MainStreet de Las Vegas, introduced various dignitaries instrumental in the planning of the Breezeway venture. City Planner Melanie Gallegos provided details regarding the designation by American Planning Association of Bridge Street as one of 10 Great Streets in America.
Elmo Baca, Historic & Cultural Projects Program Associate, New Mexico MainStreet, provided a historical perspective on the background and forerunners of business owners along Bridge Street throughout the decades.
He emphasized that the original Plaza area architecture plan followed the directives of the “Spanish Laws of the Indies,” and that, in subsequent years, Bridge Street has served as a connection between University Avenue and the Plaza. After the consolidation of East and West Las Vegas in 1970s, La Plaza Vieja Partnership was instrumental in the revitalization of 15 buildings on the plaza.
Baca credited the many individuals who have made critical business decisions through the years, carrying on the Bridge Street traditions, and said, “We will keep on improving Bridge Street…We will carry forward.”
Mayor Alfonso Ortiz also spoke to the group gathered, acknowledging city employees and other key figures in the community. He emphasized “A totality of people getting things done.”
Accepting the APA award plaques was Christian Laumbach, president of MainStreet de Las Vegas.
“We live in a beautiful community,” she said. “We look forward to bigger and better things.”