The Foundation’s daylong tour of Truth or Consequences on Oct. 25 concluded with a panel discussion at the Geronimo Springs Museum. The four panelists were Main Street director Linda DeMarino, museum board member Ann Welborn, city commissioner Steve Green, and Sea Properties, Ltd. owner Sid Bryan.
Roy Hertweck, Architectural Foundation member and planning director of Sandia National Laboratories, served as the facilitator and posed several questions about the vision and plan for Truth or Consequences to the panelists.
Speaking to the value of a community’s architectural heritage, DeMarino said:
Truth or Consequences is like a quilt. It looks like nothing goes together, but look at it s a whole and it’s really beautiful.”
“When I first came here, architecture was the thing I liked most about this town,” noted Bryan who owns the Pelican Spa and has been working to preserve and revitalize parts of the bathhouse district. “My goal is to make things last and to reveal the colors that are beneath the surface.”
Welborn commended Bryan for his efforts saying, “He’s breathed a lot of life into this town.”
A teacher for 26 years and past superintendent of schools, Welborn spoke about many of the historic buildings in the community that include the elementary and high schools. She also noted, “We need to do better job at instilling pride in our town and its history so that our young people don’t leave.”
Green added, “Our students need to become more knowledgeable about our history and the resources we offer. This town is rich with so many assets and they shouldn’t be kept a mystery.”
“Let’s get our community more involved in supporting a vision for this town,” said Green. “How do we capture economic opportunities, like SpacePort America, and build jobs and a future for this community?”
“At the same time, we need to stay true to the history of our town,” said DeMarino.
Many of the Architectural Foundation members asked questions about Elephant Butte Dam and the CCC-constructed site after visiting the grounds on the tour, and wanted to know more about the plans to maintain the historical site as it prepares to celebrate its 100-year anniversary. The site recently went back under the management of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
“It’s an incredible historical asset that we can’t afford to lose,” said Green.
Karen Van Citters, Architectural Foundation member and historic preservationist in Albuquerque said, “The federal government works for you. If you want to do something with the site, talk to them about it. The government is not allowed to let historic sites just fall into ruin.”
Sierra County manager Bruce Swingle, a tour participant, added, “That type of history is a regional issue and the county is very interested in preserving that history.”
“The Dam Site is a state treasure,” surmised Hertweck. “That is why the Architectural Foundation is here visiting Truth or Consequences today.
We are interested in learning more about New Mexico’s communities and what it can do to support efforts to preserve our state’s architectural heritage.”