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State awards grant to help rehab Santa Rosa warehouse March 7, 2012

Posted by Ron Warnick in Gas stations, Museums, Preservation.
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A photo illustration of the proposed Route 66 museum inside the Ilfeld Warehouse in Santa Rosa, N.M.

The governor of New Mexico signed legislation Wednesday that awards $325,000 to the city of Santa Rosa to help plan and rehabilitate the historic Ilfeld Warehouse so it can eventually be converted into a Route 66 museum.

Gov. Susana Martinez had promised to veto any item in the Legislature’s capital-improvement measure that she deemed as pork. Good to her word, she vetoed more than 190 projects worth $23 million on Wednesday,  including a proposed $175,000 to Albuquerque to build a Route 66 visitors center on the city’s east end. The measure and her vetoes can be found here.

However, the Santa Rosa proposal survived the cut. The Guadalupe County Communicator, based in Santa Rosa, had previously reported that the city was trying to woo Route 66 enthusiast Johnnie Meier and his Classical Gas Museum gas-station memorabilia to the century-old warehouse. Meier’s museum is based in Embudo, N.M.

The $350,000 probably won’t be enough to renovate the warehouse by itself, but will help greatly. Santa Rosa also applied for a National Scenic Byways grant to help fix the Ilfeld.

The city has redoubled its efforts to establish a Route 66 museum in the past year, especially after the closing of the historic Pecos Theatre and the imminent closure of the V&S Variety store, both in downtown.

The city of Tucumcari, about 55 miles to the east, also is trying to woo Meier’s collection for its own Route 66 museum. However, it’s probably safe to say Santa Rosa now has the upper hand in that effort.

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