Frontier & Native American Communities Initiative

The Frontier & Native American Communities Initiative is a community-driven, asset-based economic development program created by the Legislature in 2013 and coordinated through the New Mexico MainStreet Program (NMMS) to provide support to rural and Native American communities under 7,500 in population.

The initiative is project-based and designed to serve smaller New Mexico communities that may currently not have the capacity or resources to operate a full-fledged MainStreet Program. Visit www.nmmainstreet.org to learn more about the New Mexico MainStreet Program.

Through a competitive application process, community stakeholders in partnership with their local governing body identify an economic development project within a town center, village plaza, courthouse square, or historic/traditional commercial corridor.

Proposed projects must demonstrate job creation, business development, leverage private sector investment, or enhancement of a community’s economic environment.

Selected communities receive professional services and technical assistance from New Mexico MainStreet to implement and complete the proposed project within a 12 to 18-month timeframe.

The number of communities designated each year is contingent upon the New Mexico State Legislature’s annual appropriation for the New Mexico MainStreet Program.

Services and resources provided to the applicant community by NMMS and our Revitalization Specialists will be tied to the Main Street Four-Point Approach® (Economic Vitality, Promotion, Organization, and Design) and the following NMMS’s Economic Transformation Strategies:

  • Build Capacity for Local Economic Revitalization and Redevelopment: Develop local leadership and capacity to implement projects and initiatives that accelerate community-appropriate economic growth and revitalization.
  • Enhance the Entrepreneurial and Creative Economy: Build on the existing commercial base, arts, culture, advanced technology and creative assets in New Mexico MainStreet communities, support entrepreneurial and creative endeavors through assessment, education, planning, and collaboration.
  • Create Thriving Places: Increase economic viability through revitalization and creative placemaking to transform our downtowns, squares and villages to help them reach their full potential through great public spaces, buildings, streets and pedestrian areas.

The Frontier & Native American Communities Initiative provides free professional services but is not a grant program, and direct funding for selected projects is not necessarily part of the services or resources provided.

NMMS will work with funding partners to identify potential resources or small seed grants, however, the local community is expected to either have in-hand or identify local financial resources to complete the proposed project.

Applicants accepted into the Frontier & Native American Communities Initiative are not considered a State Designated MainStreet Program, but are designated a Frontier & Native American Communities Initiative Project for the 12 to 18-month time frame while they develop and complete the project.

However, for some participating communities, the Frontier & Native American Communities Initiative may also serve as a way to build capacity to become an NMMS Accelerator Community that leads to MainStreet Program designation.

ELIGIBILITY and EXPECTATIONS

  • An applicant community may be an incorporated municipality, an unincorporated village or town (though the local County or Council of Governments must take on full fiscal and financial partnership responsibilities for the proposed project), Tribal/Pueblo Government, or Land Grant Governments under 7,500 in population.
  • Applicant communities are encouraged to engage not only their local governing body, but also their county government, regional Council of Governments, and where applicable, Land Grant or Tribal/Pueblo government.
  • The applicant community cannot be currently designated as a MainStreet, Arts & Cultural District Program, or MainStreet Accelerator Community.
  • Applications are reviewed and ranked by New Mexico MainStreet professionals. The selection process is very competitive and it is highly recommended that applicants attend the online Frontier & Native American Communities Initiative Pre-Application Webinar
  • Only one application for one project per community will be accepted. Professional technical assistance through NMMS is targeted to that one designated community economic development project. The scope of the project should be specific. Additional professional assistance on other projects and activities will not be considered until the original project is complete.
  • Designated Frontier & Native American Communities are expected to fully participate in the program of services as a partner. A stakeholder group of volunteers is required to implement the project. The New Mexico MainStreet program, or its contractors, are not responsible for implementing or funding the community-based project.
  • Designated Frontier & Native American Community Projects are expected to have their task group participants attend project related New Mexico MainStreet trainings and Leadership Networking Meetings to assist with building their local capacity to reinvest in their local economy.
  • An annual calendar of New Mexico MainStreet trainings is provided on www.nmmainstreet.org. Access to those trainings and workshops is available to community stakeholders at the same low cost as MainStreet and Arts & Cultural District organization affiliates.
  • A community’s period of designation as a Frontier & Native American Community Initiative will not exceed 18 months beginning on the selection date the designation is awarded. Designated Frontier Communities demonstrating successful implementation of their awarded project and attendance at NMMS trainings during their first designation period, may apply for a second round of designation for a new economic development project.
  • Communities may only participate in two consecutive rounds of the initiative. It is expected that communities receiving a second designation are building local capacity to apply for the NMMS Accelerator process that leads to MainStreet designation.
  • Projects selected must conform to all state regulations and guidance for economic development support, including the state constitution’s “anti-donation clause.”
  • The project requires partnership resources from the municipality and stakeholders. Depending on the project, the municipality could be expected to explore dedicated sources of funding through one of the state-enabled financial revitalization tools or other federal and foundation sources to support the effort in implementing the project.
  • Additionally, where applicable, the state assistance team may recommend the adoption or amendment by municipal ordinance any one of several financing tools created by the state as municipal enabling legislation to finance the project. Such legislation could include the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA), a Metropolitan Redevelopment Area (MRA), Tax Increment Finance (TIF) district, or other state redevelopment and revitalization tools appropriate to the scope and scale of the proposed project.
  • New Mexico MainStreet professional contractors and staff will also assist the Frontier or Native American Community in reviewing a number of financing options from federal, state, foundation and other fundraising sources once an estimated budget for the project has been developed. This could include the Economic Development Department’s FundIt program and eligible funding through NM Finance Authority and NM Mortgage Finance Authority.
  • Professional design services provided are conceptual. Projects requiring a licensed architect, engineer, or construction documents may be ranked lower than projects that can be self-initiated.

Eligible Projects

The focus of the Frontier & Native American Communities Initiative program is for a catalytic project considered to have a substantial economic impact. As such, applicant communities should select their project based on its contribution to the local economy and to a sound and proper balance between preservation and development. The community’s choice of a catalytic project has significance not only for the potential redevelopment of the selected project but can have a positive spill-over effect, stimulating interest and action for additional projects. Revitalization is an ongoing, incremental community effort.

Please see the comprehensive list of potential projects below that qualify for this initiative.

  • Placemaking
  • Plaza or Courthouse Square Redevelopment
  • Landscape Design
  • Integration of Public Art on Street
  • Tactical Urbanism Project
  • Bicycle and Pedestrian Enhancements
  • Wayfinding System Design
  • Façade Improvement Program
  • Façade Squad
  • Retail Storefront Design
  • Awning and Business Sign Improvements
  • Pedestrian Amenities
  • Historic Preservation/Preservation Enhancement
  • Historic Building, Cultural Property, and District Survey & Nominations
  • Restoration of Historic Building
  • Adaptive Reuse Plan
  • Real Estate and Property Development
  • Real Estate Project Review
  • Project Feasibility Plan
  • Community Initiated Development Project
  • Analysis of Vacant and Underutilized Properties
  • Redevelopment and Revitalization Plans
  • Downtown Revitalization Plan
  • Metropolitan Redevelopment Area Designation/Plan
  • Zoning Analysis and Zone Change
  • New Business/Entrepreneur Development Support
  • Business Retention, Expansion, Recruitment
  • Setting up a Business Incubator
  • Pop Up/Temporary Business Development
  • Creative Economy
  • Leveraging Cultural, Creative, and Historical Assets for Economic Development
  • Cultural Economic Development Plans
  • Cultural Facility Planning and Programming
  • Promotion
  • District Image Development and Branding
  • Tourism Related Development
  • Destination Event Development
  • Marketing Plan

For further information please contact: Daniel Gutierrez, MainStreet Director, (505) 827-0151 or daniel.gutierrez2@state.nm.us