Chevron established the Questa Economic Development Fund after the mine closed to help stimulate new economic development in Questa and the surrounding communities. Over the past year, QEDF has worked on a variety of programs for the community, many that will be continued in 2024.
The feasibility study to evaluate the construction of a green hydrogen plant in our village could position Questa as a leader of sustainable energy production, making us one of the only areas in the country powered 100 percent by green energy. The economic viability of the project is being further explored this year — how many jobs will be created, and what is the long-term financial potential?
Recruitment for and promotion of the Questa Business Park will ramp up in 2024. Five sites are construction-ready. QEDF works with the New Mexico Partnership, to vet potential companies looking to relocate or establish businesses in New Mexico — at least one will be the ideal fit for Questa!
Community conversations have been held around creating an area-wide Acequia Association to have a stronger, unified voice to protect and support local water resources and issues. Please attend and be part of the discussion at a public meeting on January 10 at 5 p.m. at My Tia’s Café in Cerro.
You’re invited to another public meeting to address the development of new hiking trails in Largo Canyon and beginner rock climbing sites, plans funded by a New Mexico Trails+ grant. Attend the meeting on January 24 at 6 p.m. at the Questa Public Library to share your concerns or support (see story on page 20).
QEDF received a $25,000 LEADS grant from the New Mexico economic development department (NMEDD) to create Business Bridge a business bridge at the Questa Public Library, “to connect the community to business resources, training, and services.” New computers, a commercial color copier/printer, and smart board will be installed early this year for use by area businesses and residents.
Los Alamos National Laboratory contributed $5,000 to launch a regular schedule of free business-oriented workshops to support start-up enterprises and existing businesses. The schedule will be announced shortly.
For earning the state’s economic development organization certification, QEDF has been awarded $40,000 from the NMEDD. Chevron has also pledged additional financial support to QEDF and the Village for many specific economic development projects.
One will address the shortage of affordable workforce housing. QEDF hired the Taos Housing Partnership to conduct a Questa-area housing assessment, which will make recommendations for next steps to identify solutions.
Other funding is dedicated to the agricultural community; public meetings in 2023 explored an agricultural cooperative. A community-led committee identified a year-round “storefront” co-op model, to sell and promote local produce and products. The Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University is compiling an economic feasibility study to evaluate its long-term viability.
This newspaper was established by QEDF to connect the community through regular communication, reporting on area and state news. This past year Mikayla Ortega — born and raised in Questa — was hired as our new managing editor and has taken the paper to the next level.
The Village, Chevron, and QEDF all partner with the state to promote Questa as part of the “New Mexico True” advertising campaign. The state provides a two to one match, turning our $30,000 into $90,000 worth of advertising in Texas and Oklahoma. Social media ads, Facebook posts, and Instagram effectively drive visitors to the VisitQuesta.com website.
The website helps guests plan their trips to our area, and the Questa Visitor Center provides a warm in-person welcome and area information from May through October.
The QEDF office is located in the Visitor Center, and is open year-round; so even though the sign says “closed,” if there’s a car out front, stop in and say hello. Or, email firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a message at (575) 586-2149, or join us for our QEDF board meetings, every first Monday of the month at 6 p.m. at the Visitor Center and via Zoom. Call for the Zoom link and to confirm the meeting. Get in touch and share your economic development ideas!