Las Cruces City Council Updated on Movie Activity and Farmers Market


LAS CRUCES — Three nonprofit organizations that work with the City of Las Cruces on local economic development reported to the Las Cruces City Council during its business session Monday. The updates follow the city’s previous fiscal year-end, which runs from July 1 through the end of June.

Leaders of Film Las Cruces, the Las Cruces Farmer’s and Craft Market, and the Downtown Las Cruces Partnership all made presentations to the full council, with the exception of Mayor Ken Miyagishima who was absent from the town. Another economic development partner, the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance, is expected to give its own update in a later session.

Film Liaison Jonathan Sepp of Film Las Cruces, which recently moved to new offices on W. Griggs Avenue, said the organization has made progress increasing production spending in the city as well as opportunities for local artists and team members.

In the fiscal year that ended June 30, Sepp said the film productions spent $8 million in town over 325 days of production, generating $120,000 in gross receipts taxes.

The Film Las Cruces headquarters on W. Griggs Ave.  in downtown Las Cruces, NM is seen Monday, August 8, 2022.

The organization also promotes the city to film and video producers while meeting regularly with the local film community and local vendors to build local capacity to accommodate big and low budget productions shooting in the city. .

More recently, the old downtown Doña Ana County Courthouse last month played host to “The Informant,” a film starring Mel Gibson.

Sepp said the organization’s database of local resources includes nearly 300 verified crew members, some of whom are earning days of work on union movie sets in preparation for possible membership, a boost for local careers in the industry as well as an attraction for production companies in need of premises. workers on site.

Councilwoman Johana Bencomo asked about complaints she had heard from local businesses whose operations had been temporarily disrupted by the shooting, which sometimes necessitates street closures. Sepp said Film Las Cruces has developed prompt notifications and improved lines of communication for these circumstances.

The crew is working on the set of The Informant at the Old Dona Ana County Courthouse on Tuesday, July 19, 2022.

Las Cruces Police Chief Miguel Dominguez also responded to a question from Bencomo, saying that officers who deal with street closures for film shoots usually do so in their spare time as a job. secondary outside their regular service.

Councilor and Mayor Pro Tem Kasandra Gandara, who chaired the meeting, asked Sepp about the long-running efforts to build a sound stage in the city, a project that has stalled and started for several years and for which the money has already been budgeted. Sepp declined to provide details, but said a soundstage announcement may be coming soon.

The town’s director of economic development, Elizabeth Teeters, added, “We hope to be able to bring something to the town council for approval in the coming months as a use of the funds.”

farmers market

Karin Bradshaw, manager of the farmers’ and crafts market which moves downtown on Wednesdays and Saturdays, said the market has 159 permanent vendors and 108 temporary vendors, returning to pre-pandemic attendance, as well as 58 musicians performing while the market is in operation.

The mini donuts are made by The Donut Director during the Farmers & Crafts Market in Las Cruces on Saturday, May 14, 2022.

Recently, the Mesilla Valley Animal Services Center resumed holding pet adoption events and recently held a pet microchipping clinic in the market, Bradshaw reported. The animal service organization is one of many non-profit organizations that come to market on a turn-by-turn basis.

Bradshaw said participation has increased in the Double Up Food Bucks program, a grant program that the Farmers Market participates in, allowing individuals to double the value of SNAP food assistance benefits.

“When someone uses their SNAP-EBT benefits at the Farmers Market, it’s automatically doubled for free through a grant with the State of New Mexico,” she explained, “so if someone wants to use $20 perk on their card, we’ll automatically double it, and they’ll then get $40 to spend and use at the market to buy fresh produce, baked goods (and) meat” from qualified vendors.

Councilor Yvonne Flores asked how the market ensures that its vendors adhere to gross receipts taxes on taxable goods as well as a policy that market vendors must produce the goods they sell. Bradshaw responded that vendors are sole proprietorships responsible for filing their taxes and are required to provide proof of compliance. In the event of a question as to whether they manufacture or grow the products they sell, Bradshaw said the marketplace has the ability under its agreement with sellers to perform spot checks if necessary.

Downtown Las Cruces Partnership has announced a new mural to promote its campaign titled

Bradshaw also responded to comments that the market has become “craft heavy”, emphasizing that “we are a farmers market first”. She noted that the market was not yet running out of space or planning to limit craft vendors.

Downtown Las Cruces Partnership director Jennifer Kozlowski followed Bradshaw, presenting alongside Susan Cabello, who leads the city’s arts and culture district. The two elected officials told elected officials about their efforts to promote and beautify the downtown area, including a series of murals on businesses, as well as advice for people who are creating businesses.

Among his updates, Kozlowski celebrated the opening of 13 new businesses in the past fiscal year and said his organization is helping four new projects — three restaurants and a fitness center — that are underway.

The activity generated 59 new jobs downtown, Kozlowski said, and also led to $2.58 million in property improvements.

“These are building owners, business owners as well as land owners, putting money back into the neighborhood to revitalize their buildings, their space, so that we have more businesses downtown. “, she said.

Algernon D’Ammassa can be reached at 575-541-5451, [email protected] or @AlgernonWrites on Twitter.

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