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Downtown businesses open, keeping customers safe


Downtown Las Cruces is open for business.

That’s the message from Jennifer Garcia Kozlowski, executive director of Downtown Las Cruces Partnership (DLCP), who said downtown businesses are working together to find ways of “hanging in there” during the pandemic and to thrive once the health emergency is over.

“We have a sense of community,” she said of the nearly 250 businesses that comprise downtown, including those directly east and west of Main Street.

DLCP is collaborating with the City of Las Cruces, including its Arts and Cultural District, the Tax Increment Development District and MainStreet Las Cruces to develop collaborations designed to benefit all of downtown.

An example from earlier this month is a $12,000 grant DLCP received from the American Association of Retired People (AARP) to provide safe bicycle storage and shade structures in the city’s Arts and Cultural District.

“Downtown Las Cruces wants to be a hub of community activity,” Kozlowski said about the grant.

Kozlowski said downtown merchants “take the health crisis seriously,” and are enforcing social distancing and mask wearing to create a truly safe environment rather than “a fake safe.”

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, she said, downtown businesses “have really opened up their eyes and their minds to re-establishment of their business plans.”

“I’m proud of these businesses,” Kozlowski said. Their tenacity is “keeping their doors open and keeping people employed.”

In addition to more than 20 restaurants, downtown Las Cruces includes anchors like COAS Bookstore and Organ Mountain Outfitters, yoga studios (continuing to operate with online classes), art galleries, theatres, professional services and one of the nation’s most popular farmers and crafts markets. Downtown’s more than 20 restaurants are maximizing every opportunity for safe outdoor dining, curbside service and delivery, she said.

Plans are in the works to revive downtown events as COVID-19 restrictions are eased, and to feature the unique works of downtown artists.

Joining Kozlowski at the DLCP offices at 138 S. Water St. is staff member Susan Greenwald. The DLCP board is comprised of Kevin Tegmeyer, Craig Buchanan, Robert Cruise, Kristin Morehead, David Chavez, Bob Pofahl, Linda M. Lee, Orlando T. Padilla and Yvonne Silva.

For more information on DLCP, call DLCP at 575-525-1955 or visit www.downtownlascruces.org/.