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Las Cruces will use city money to “beautify” state land off I-25

The Las Cruces City Council voted four to three to beautify the land surrounding the Interstate 25 interchange near University Avenue.

“I can’t imagine how many cars travel through Interstate 25,” said Mayor Ken Miyagishima.

The local project will run in conjunction with a massive, multimillion dollar state project to completely renovate the interchange. The mayor told ABC-7 he wants to make the area more attractive to passerby on Interstate 25.

“It’s an economic development driver,” Miyagishima said. “It really beautifies the community. It’s good landscaping. It’s good business.”

A spokeswoman for the New Mexico Department of Transportation confirmed the city will pay the state to complete the project. Las Cruces will also be responsible for maintaining the land near the interchange.

“What they’ve done is given us funding for what they would like to see,” said Ami Evans.

“This is a very difficult decision for me,” said City Councilor Jack Eakman, who represents district four.

Eakman ultimately voted against funding the project. He said the city should first focus on eradicating homelessness, hunger and poverty before funding other ventures.

“It does give me pause on where we are going to put the taxpayer’s money,” Eakman said.

The multimillion dollar NMDOT project will begin in Spring 2019, Evans confirmed. She said construction will last for about a year.

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