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Artesia is a southeastern New Mexico town named for the artesian aquifer on which the area’s early agricultural industry was based. Today Artesia’s 10,700 residents are drawing on the city’s history as they work with the Artesia MainStreet program to remake the town’s downtown.
Artesia MainStreet is part of the New Mexico MainStreet Program, a grassroots economic development program of the New Mexico Economic Development Department. The state Legislature launched the program in 1985 to help communities remake older commercial neighborhoods as economically viable business environments while preserving local cultural and historical resources.
The program currently serves 23 affiliated MainStreet projects and six state-authorized Arts and Cultural Districts statewide.
In the late 1970s, the National Trust for Historic Preservation developed the consensus-building approach used by MainStreet participants to wed economic development and historic preservation. Community volunteers are the engines of each program, but MainStreet Program directors contribute resources, education, training and technical services as needed.
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