Los Lunas unveils new village logo and interchange beautification project

........................................................................................................................................................................................

The Los Lunas Village Council approved a new village logo, and the design for phase one of an interchange beautification project.

The logo is similar to the old logo, but updated to look more contemporary, and it’s easier to read, said Christina Ainsworth, director of community development.

Photo courtesy of EFG Creative, Inc.: The Los Lunas Interstate 25 beautification project is designed by Laurie Roddick of Roddick and Dunbar, Ltd., and the art pieces are designed by Los Lunas native Eric F. Garcia and his firm EFG Creative, Inc.

“Most people really like it, including myself,” Ainsworth said. “It’s fresh and new and it still reflects our traditional logo, which we took into account.”

It will be used on business materials for marketing and economic development, village stationary and future government vehicles and trucks.

The interchange beautification project was initiated by Ralph Mims, the economic development manager.

“It is his dream to beautify the interchange since it is the gateway to the village,” Ainsworth said. “He has been working very hard to make this happen, including having the state commit to $300,000 in 2014 toward the project.”

Most of the funding comes from federal efforts to help cities and towns across the nation with beautification projects. The funding can only be used for these types of projects.

Because of changes in the transportation bill that was passed, the funding for 2014 has to be advanced to 2013 or the village will lose it, Ainsworth said.

The village has budgeted $100,000 in matching funds, and contracted Laurie Roddick of Roddick and Dunbar, Ltd. for the overall design.

Local artist, Eric F. Garcia, creative director at EFG Creative, Inc., was contracted to create the art pieces.

Garcia is a native of Los Lunas who first learned to draw by sketching the Los Lunas Hill, he said. His grandparents, Ted and Julia Baca, had a restaurant for many years just north of the Luna Mansion called Ted’s Café.

“I love this village and I’m excited to be a part of the beautification project of my home town,” Garcia said.

His firm offers graphic design, web design and other marketing services. He is also working with Albuquerque officials on the Route 66 restoration project, and has worked on several structural design and signage projects for Mesa del Sol near the Sunport in Albuquerque.

In keeping with the new brand developed by Jim Glover of the Idea Group of Santa Fe, a marketing firm hired by the village, Garcia used the village slogan, “Small Community, Big Possibilities,” in the overpass artwork.

A tree fabricated in steel with flood lights at its base, holds an oval welcome sign in its upper branches off the highway about 150 feet at the exit ramp. The sign has wall-wash lights hidden in its base.

“At night it’s going to have a beautiful presentation,” Garcia said. “And it still preserves the small-town feel.”

The tree will be modified to resemble a cottonwood tree at the suggestion of Councilor Richard Lovato.

Surrounding the tree base are staggered flagstones and landscaping.

“We’ve got this wonderful selection of plants that will cradle this design,” Garcia said. “We’re taking components of our logo, and giving it a bit of an organic design, so we’re not veering too far from what the heart of our community is — its deep roots.”

The hope is that people will be interested enough by the gateway display to want to visit the village.

“We want them to slow down and recognize this is something different, something special,” Garcia said.

Resident James Taylor said he was concerned about possible traffic accidents.

“When people are looking to the side of the road and they’re seeing things that light up that they’re not used to seeing, they’re staring there, and guess what, they steer in that direction,” he said.

“Those are also very important concerns that we had, and of course DOT will also have those same concerns,” Garcia said. “That’s why we have everything according to legal specifications and follow all DOT regulations and guidelines.”

The firm also followed the community covenants, he said.

The councilors liked the design and layout.

“I think it’s beautiful, and I like the tree,” said Councilor Amanda Perea. “To me it signifies the ruralness.”

Phase one will include everything in the southbound direction, and phase two will complete the northbound side.

An anti-graffiti powder coating will be applied when the design is finished, and other security measures are being considered, such as cameras directly linked to the Los Lunas Police Department.

The underpass will be lit with low voltage LED lighting.

“It’s a nice, warm lighting,” Garcia said. “It’s going to give a beautiful effect.”

More funding for the project is being sought. It is federal money for beautification projects funneled through the state, Ainsworth said.

“We’re hoping to supplement with some money the state will commit,” she said. “It’s the same transportation funding. There’s some available that wasn’t committed to other projects, and we’re hoping that some of that will be awarded to us.”

The request is for $1 million, enough to cover phase one. Ainsworth hopes to get an answer within the next two weeks, she said.

The entire project is estimated to cost $2 million, and construction is slated to begin later this year.


-- Email the author at dfox@news-bulletin.com.