City receives 2 grants

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By The Staff

The city of Las Vegas has obtained a grant that will enable it to hire 23 youths and three supervisors to work on the Riverwalk.

The $148,791 Fiscal Year 2015 grant was awarded by the state Youth Conservation Corps. The city obtained another $50,000 grant from the New Mexico Finance Authority to conduct a feasibility study on a proposed Family Fun Center in the Las Vegas area.

The city announced the grants late last week in a news release.

“We are very proud of the work Community Development has produced, particularly the successful effort of Melanie Gallegos, city planner,” Mayor Alfonso Ortiz said in the release. “Melanie has applied for more than $1.5 million (in grants) over the past three years, which (have been funded).”

Ortiz said the YCC grant that was written by Gallegos was one of the few applications to get full funding.

“Now that we have received the funding, we look froward to the final product and hope the community enjoys the improvements,” he said.

The YCC grant is to be spent on three things. First, the youths hired will work on restoring the Riverwalk, which will include removing obnoxious plants, picking up trash, removing dead or diseased trees and trimming trees and plants.

City of Las Vegas staff will supervise the youth workers. The grant will also be used to add things like trash cans, dog-waste systems, benches and picnic tables. The final component of the grant involves the installation of things like murals and signs.

According to the release, the project fits in with the city’s Downtown Action Plan, which calls for continued improvements to the Gallinas River.

“Both grants are youth-  oriented,” the release states. “Specifically, the YCC grant is designed to teach our youth the skills necessary to be successful in the workforce through specified classes and on the job training.”

The idea of a Family Fun Center is something that has been pushed by Councilman Joey Herrera for some time. A Family Fun Center is a facility that provides a variety of family-friendly activities. According to the city, the grant it received to conduct a feasibility study on the project doesn’t require a match.

The youth have to be one of our main priorities, and we have been working with the community and the city of Las Vegas Community Development Department to find projects and activities that benefit the youth both through activity and education,” the release quotes Councilors Herrera and Vince Howell as saying.

According to the release, West Las Vegas students contacted the city a year ago about ideas they had to make Las Vegas attractive for youth. “We want them to know we took their ideas seriously,” Howell and Hererra said. “We encourage them to continue bringing us their ideas.”