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Highlands Helps MainStreet Paint Historic Buildings

5/29/2013

Highlands student helps paint buildings

Photo by Margaret McKinney/Highlands University
Highlands University MBA student and MainStreet de Las Vegas intern Eugenia Leonova paints May 25 as part of MainStreet’s ongoing Façade Squad project.

Las Vegas, N.M. – New Mexico Highlands students and staff lent a hand again to paint commercial buildings May 25 as part of MainStreet de Las Vegas’ ongoing Façade Squad project.

This time, two adjacent historic building on the 600 block of East Lincoln Street got a much-needed facelift.

“Doc Holliday is reputed to have owned one of these buildings, leaving town in a hurry after shooting a man in the street in front of his building,” said Cindy Collins, executive director of MainStreet de Las Vegas. “Highlands is the Façade Squad and has participated in painting 12 commercial buildings in the historic downtown corridor.

“I can’t say enough good things about the university’s enthusiasm and hard work to help beautify our town. It’s an amazing partnership,” Collins said.

Highlands University student athletes and staff have provided the elbow grease for Façade  Squad painting projects dating back to 2009. Participating teams include women’s soccer, men and women’s cross country, football, women’s basketball, and rodeo.

This year, Eugenia Leonova, a 26-year-old MBA student from Moscow, wielded a paint brush. She is also creating a website for MainStreet as part of her internship with the nonprofit.

“This town has very unique history and the buildings are beautiful, with such an interesting mix of architectural styles,” Leonova said. “It’s really important to retain them.”

Media arts student Andrew Fann also lent a hand on May 25, videotaping all day. Collins said he will produce a professional four-minute video for MainStreet to post on YouTube.

Jorden Grimm wore two hats when he painted for Façade Squad. He’s the university’s capital projects operations manager and recruited Jason Cole of facility services to help. Grimm also owns Grimm, LLC and brought six of his construction team to help.

“The abundance of historic architecture we have in Las Vegas is like no other town in New Mexico,” Grimm said. “It’s a passion for me to restore these neglected historic buildings.”

Collins said Façade Squad works to revitalize downtown commercial buildings to attract more local customers and visitors. Façade Squad also works to preserve the history and culture of Las Vegas, and build community pride.

“Façade Squad provides two important outcomes: one has immediate visual impact, and the second encourages others to invest in their buildings and the community,” said Bill Taylor, Highlands University business professor and MainStreet board member.

Some notable examples of historic buildings Façade Squad painted on Bridge Street include the E. Romero Hose & Fire building and the one that houses the Las Vegas Arts Council. On Grand Avenue, businesses like Mary Ann’s Burritos and Pedro’s Bakery were painted.

Collins said Southwest Capital Bank sponsors Façade Squad, Franken Construction loans the scaffolding, and JC’s New York Pizza fed the hungry painters this time. The City of Las Vegas also supports Façade Squad.

She added that this year there was a nice blend of ages pitching in for Façade Squad, including students from Memorial Middle School, Paul D. Henry Elementary School, Río Gallinas School, and United World College ­– USA.



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