Mesilla's Business Owners Upset about Partially Closed Plaza

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POSTED: Thursday, December 15, 2011 - 8:15pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 7:42pm

The historic town of Mesilla is known for its postcard holiday scenes that attract people from across the region.

It is business that shop owners have come to rely on, even with the economy taking a toll on the historic town.

" It's still kind of rough, Las Cruces is still experiencing a little hiccup, " said Jerry Harrell, manager of the Double Eagle. "There's something about old Mesilla, it's a step back in time...you don't really walk in Mesilla you stroll, you don't really eat in Mesilla, you dine."

He says the holiday times are the most important for businesses. They usually double the amount of people in December, compared to any other time during the year.

Mesilla's economy depends on the tourist season during the holidays, but since last year things have changed, and it's not necessarily because of the economy.

"The town has had some concerns about safety and last year they decided to close the plaza and unfortunately most of the merchants didn't know like myself, " said Julienne Hadfield. She's owned her jewelry story for twenty years. She says she called the mayor numerous times but didn't hear back from her for seven months. "It cut our business down to 50% if not less, it was devastating."

The town council made a compromise this year with the business owners. The plaza will be open until 3pm for drive through traffic and after that it will only be open for people to walk through. People in the plaza feel like the the tradition has been lost.

"People here in Mesilla for decades it's been a tradition to come and drive through and look at the beautiful luminarias in the plaza....I think it was really sad, " said Janyce Leone, a store owner.
 

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