Route 66 Projects In Works

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There are quite a few people looking to spruce up Route 66.

A group of volunteers, Moriarty and Edgewood Mayors, and state Sen. Sue Wilson Beffort are all working to get the Mother Road back to its former glory.

"Roger Holden is doing a great job on outreach," Beffort said this week. "He emails me every time there is a new idea or discussion. The community buy-in and enthusiasm is just impressive. … It makes me want to work harder."

Beffort's role in the project may just be the most important aspect. She said she'd like to see if she can't wrangle some money through the state's Main Street appropriations bill during the current legislative session.

Holden, who lives in Edgewood and has served as the town's parks and recreation director, said the working group is just starting to roll up its sleeves.

"We have several things in the pot right now," he said.

Replacing a few stolen signs is high on the list of priorities, as well as placing Old Route 66 logos on Moriarty and Edgewood banners, he said.

There could also be a tray liner with a map marking significant points along the route. "The Sunset Motel, Lewis Antique Auto and Toy Museum, Whiting Brothers. There is a whole host of them," Holden said.

There also is an effort afoot to locate the exact midpoint of Old Route 66 and place a marker, which he said lies somewhere in the Edgewood area

And, Holden said, Kay Audette is looking into grant funding.

She is the daughter of the late Bob Audette, or "Mr. Route 66," who was one of the Mother Road's biggest advocates.

"She is doing this as a tribute to her father," Holden said.

The group also met with Kaisa Barthuli, program manager for the National Park Service Route 66 Preservation Program. Barthuli said this stretch of road has something unique to offer.

"Nobody else along the route can talk about pinto bean history," she said. "There are some great examples of what is possible, and I can see this task group moving in a great direction."

Moriarty Mayor Ted Hart was part of another regional effort to try and tease out funding. Hart, Edgewood Mayor Brad Hill and Estancia Mayor Ted Barela made a trip to Santa Fe on Monday to ask for funding for regional projects.

Hart said he is looking for funding for water and sewer services, and that the group supports funding those kinds of projects because they help protect the water in the Estancia Basin.

Hard said Hill is focusing on other matters, such as roads, but he commended Hill for voicing his support for projects in Moriarty and Estancia.

"We went up as a regional effort to support each other's projects," Hart said. "(Hill) was definitely in favor of our projects."

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