DOÑA ANA COUNTY COLONIAS DAY TO BE HELD FEB. 4 IN SANTA FE

DOÑA ANA COUNTY COLONIAS DAY TO BE HELD FEB. 4 IN SANTA FE

District 1 Commissioner Oscar Vásquez-Butler has announced plans for community residents and partner organizations to convene in Santa Fe on Friday, Feb. 4, 2005 to celebrate ‘Colonias Day.’

Butler said residents and community groups from Doña Ana County’s 37 federally recognized colonias are invited to caravan to Santa Fe for the event. The caravan will leave at noon Thursday, Feb. 3, from the Doña Ana County Health and Human Services Complex at 125 W. Boutz Rd. in Las Cruces.

The Dona Ana County colonias initiative is an ongoing effort to involve local residents and key partners in improving infrastructure for the county’s rural communities. The event in Santa Fe on Feb. 4 is designed to bring statewide attention to the scope of the initiative, which already has received bipartisan support from Doña Ana County’s legislative delegation and from Gov. Richardson, who has committed $5 million to the Vado-Del Cerro Drainage Control and Emergency Access Project, the first priority under the colonias initiative.

The initiative’s genesis was a 2002 partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to begin a comprehensive, community-based planning process in Vado/Del Cerro.

The initial partnership with HUD has attracted strong support from other federal, state and private-sector investors, including the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority, the New Mexico Environmental Department and the Housing Authority of the City of Las Cruces.

Priority projects of the initiative include: 1) A regional master plan for the colonias communities that includes a long-range land-use and zoning plan for each of the 37 colonias communities; 2) A regional flood control, drainage and emergency access plan for the clusters of colonias in Dona Ana County; and 3) A regional road inventory and long-range maintenance plan for county roads in the 37 colonias communities.

Long-range goals of the Doña Ana County colonias initiative include: 1) A comprehensive plan that paves the way for public and private investment, leading to substantial improvement to the quality of life for all county residents; 2) Elimination of unplanned growth by which all new subdivisions in the community will be required to meet basic housing and infrastructure standards; and 3) Enhanced coordination among federal, state and local agencies.

The Doña Ana County colonias initiative reflects the county’s broadest goal to protect the health, safety and welfare of all its residents through government programs and the participation of community associations and residents toward improving economic conditions.

For more information on the caravan travel schedule for the Feb. 4 event, call Erica Gonzales or Frank Ortiz at (505) 528-7905.