Updated: Sep 20, 2018
Innovative Infill Initiative, I-Cubed, is what I call creative efforts to take vacant or underused properties in the infill zone of Las Cruces and make exciting new things happen. I started with the unusually shaped properties along Picacho/Spruce and Boutz/Missouri where two streets that had previously not connected east and west were connected by the City purchasing properties about twenty years ago and adding an "S" curve between the two streets. That change resulted in better east-west transit and, unfortunately, properties along busy streets sitting vacant and contributing to an air of lackluster activity. Fortunately, Councilor Gandara agrees that more can be done with these properties.
The City-owned properties are nicely landscaped and maintained, but they still seem rather sterile when innovative home or park designs could contribute to a greater sense of vibrancy. Homes on such lots could also add to property tax rolls and reduce the cost of maintaining such vacant lots for the City.
If we successfully manage a competition to design and build innovative homes on some of the lots, owners of private vacant lots may be inspired to do something similar with their properties. However, there may also be an opportunity for the City to buy such lots and continue the process of sponsoring design and build competitions (together or separately).
If this model works on the smaller vacant lots, it might be employed for other City-owned lots, including the parking lots downtown, where the idea has been to mix housing, retail, dining, entertainment, and offices for a 24/7 live/work/play atmosphere.