Questeños had a love-hate relationship with the molybdenum mine going back 90 years. Over its boom and bust history, the mine provided the economic backbone for the village and an honest living for generations of hard rock miners. As a Superfund site, the moly mine also leaves a legacy of soil, water and air pollution. When Chevron Mining permanently shuttered the mine, 300 locals found themselves abruptly out of work.
Village leaders sprang into action—creating an economic development plan to fill the void. The plan (funded by Chevron Mining) envisions a sustainable and diverse economic future for Questa, New Mexico. Outdoor recreation, art and culture, and a reemergence of local agriculture are key. Seeing as that’s our mission at Localogy, we were ready and willing do our part.
Through a grant from New Mexico Resiliency Alliance, hustled by Charlie Deans, Localogy sponsored a Façade Squad in partnership with Ocho Community Space and the historic Rael’s Market to spruce up downtown. With funding from the Questa Economic Development Fund we also sponsored the creation of a downtown park. Both projects were aimed at enticing tourist dollars to linger in a more vibrant village center.
The flourish of activity has already inspired holiday events, a weekly makers and growers market, a studio tour, an oral history and historic trail project, and a monthly newspaper. Other development initiatives have included trout habitat improvement, a business park, revolving loan program, and a land and water board. Our LEAP program has been leading the way with major events at the newly minted Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, as well as numerous gallery openings, showcases, and community events downtown.
Questa is a frontier community—resilient from the start. Questa was here long before the mine. It’s closing has been a hardship, but also an opportunity for Questeños to come together to forge a new economy.