A team of outside experts evaluated Las Vegas’ offerings, and they found that its people, history and natural beauty are assets.
But they also made recommendations on Thursday for improving Las Vegas’ downtown areas.
The three-day evaluation was part of the state’s recent designation of the Meadow City’s downtown areas as an Arts and Cultural District.
In January, Las Vegas was one of two cities in New Mexico to be named an Arts and Culture District, the result of an interagency initiative signed into law last year. Silver City was the other city.
The evaluators came from MainStreet organizations around the country and agencies in state government. They spoke to a crowd of dozens at MainStreet member Roy Montibon’s house on Seventh Street.
Rich Williams, director of New Mexico MainStreet, said every community with such a designation should aim for greater communication, coordination, collaboration and community.
“The community is interested in a consistent way to find out what’s going on,” he said.
He also said that Las Vegas, as with many towns, has a duplication of services.
Regina Chavez of New Mexico MainStreet picked up on the idea of communication, suggesting that the community have a centralized place for a calendar. Another speaker agreed with her.
However, the Las Vegas-San Miguel Chamber of Commerce already maintains such a calendar on its Web site. For April, it includes 23 events.
Chavez said the Las Vegas Arts Council should get a paid staff, like it once had. Also, she recommended that the council, whose building is next to a baseball park, move downtown where the Arts and Cultural District is.
John Stafford of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation said Las Vegas has great events and that there is no absence of things to do here. But he suggested Las Vegas experiment with advertising in such places as Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Colorado Springs, which could bring more tourists.
He also recommended businesses have longer and more consistent retail hours.
Scott Day, a San Antonio-based consultant for New Mexico MainStreet, urged Las Vegas to find a way to better connect its Old Town and New Town historic districts. He said any interruption causes visitors to stop their travels from one district to another.
He also suggested better signage to show visitors how they can get to the historic districts.
As an Arts and Culture District, Las Vegas is expected to get support for boosting tourism through promotion, marketing, technical and design assistance.