During the summer of 2021 NM True approached our GRP Director, Elizabeth Juarros, because they wanted to feature some stewardship stories in NM and had never filmed in Las Vegas before. They wanted to feature HPWA and the GRP Project because of both the City of Las Vegas’ Clean & Beautiful FY21 Grant and HPWA’s Outdoor Equity Fund FY21 Grant. NM True said they were inspired by the way HPWA is engaging and empowering our youth and their families in our work to revitalize the Gallinas River Park.
The NM Tourism Department chose to use this video/commercial in their clean waterways campaign and they featured us (Las Vegas/Rio Gallinas/HPWA) as the face of clean waterways in the state, as described on the site: https://www.newmexico.org/waterways/.
In late June of 2021, we had a week solid of good rain and lots of water, which provided us with a great opportunity to showcase the restoration work that was done on the portion of the GRP from Bridge Street down to Prince Street. One of the cases for revitalizing the GRP was to introduce structures that better help to mitigate flood waters, and to see those structures in action, please take a look at the below gallery which features before and after photos of this huge deluge of recent water.
In June of 2021, Hermit’s Peak Watershed Alliance was awarded a grant from the Outdoor Equity Fund. This grant was used to bring outdoor activities to our local youth and families. Two programs, one birding and one fly fishing, are to take place during the summer of 2021.
In April of 2021 a cash mob fundraiser was held at the Las Vegas Plaza Hotel in support of the Gallinas River Park. $3,000 dollars was raised thanks to this effort and generous people in Las Vegas, NM.
+ To continue building beautifully landscaped and vibrant places in the park, NM State Forestry funded the construction of a native and medicinal plant garden at the north end of the park. This garden is fed with storm water collected over NM
Highlands University parking lots and funneled into the garden with a storm water delivery system. In 2021, trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants will be added with paths, protective barriers, and educational signage.
+ With funding from the NM State Legislature, City of Las Vegas, and San Miguel County, Construction Ready Drawings that take the conceptual design developed in 2018 and turn them into shovel-ready designs, has been occurring through 2020. In early 2021, these architectural drawings will be completed and will identify the locations, types, specifications, and budgets of park amenities that are planned. With those designs in hand, our community can then continue to acquire funding to construct our new park.
+ A community effort spearheaded by the Presbyterian Church to build a Unity Orchard, adjacent to West Las Vegas Schools is in the works. Students from the schools will work with community experts and volunteers to learn about becoming Orchardists while producing fruit to fuel our bodies and souls.
Facebook Page: Las Vegas Unity Orchard
+ The City of Las Vegas Lodger’s Tax Board awarded another grant to purchase and install benches in the park during 2021.
+ A Pollinator Garden is being planned by the US Fish and Wildlife Service where native flowers will be planted to support local bee, butterfly, and other pollinator species. This flower garden will also add color and beauty to the park.
+ Several videos have been produced to highlight different parts of the project and capture residents’ perspectives in Community Conversations.
+ In 2020, river restoration worked continued downstream along the Gallinas River including the wetland near Independence Street with Rewinding the Gallinas Phase II. This second River Stewardship Program grant (funded by NM Environment Department) is still underway.
Rewinding The Gallinas River Phase II Construction & Completion Photos
+ Throughout the project, the City of Las Vegas who owns the park, has been incredibly supportive of this endeavor. They contributed funding in 2019 to begin doing park improvements. A 2019 City Lodger’s Tax 2019 grant funded promotional and educational events like the Gallinas Riverfest, the creation of a 3D crosswalk and the landscaping and wayfinding sign development in one entrance to the park at Bridge Street. This Kiosk Garden is the beginning of park beautification.
+ The first river restoration project was completed in 2019 and funded by the NM
Environment Department’s River Stewardship Program. Rewinding the Gallinas
Phase I restored the look, sound, feel and function of the Gallinas River from Bridge street downstream a third of a mile.
+ In 2018, HPWA lead the development of a shared vision for the park and captured that vision in a conceptual design for the park. Funded by a National Endowment for the Arts grant, this Community Design facilitated the development of a common vision for a diverse, culturally appropriate, and ecologically sound park. This conceptual vision has formed the basis of future work.
+ The newly formed Las Vegas New Mexico Community Foundation began
supporting the Gallinas River Park revitalization work with consistent funding in 2018. Since that time, their support has led to numerous other funding sources, including NM State Legislative Capital Outlay funds, to move the effort forward.
+ In 2017 the Santa Fe Community Foundation granted HPWA funds to engage students from West Las Vegas High School to actively learn about river and wetland health and help form the revitalized park. These students designed and helped to produce two interpretive signs describing two key elements in the park acequia culture and wetland ecosystems. These signs form the model for an interpretive sign trail that will be created along both banks of the river.
VEGAS VERDES ARTICLES
+ Throughout the work to Revitalize the Gallinas River Park – HPWA, with help from volunteers, has produced and released a monthly series of articles in the Las Vegas Optic to keep the community informed about the work.These articles date from: September 2019 – Present
(click on the individual articles to enlarge them for better readability)