RATON — The Shuler Theater received a huge 100th birthday present as NM Economic Department Cabinet Secretary, Jon Barela visited Raton on Monday, April 20, 2015 and announced to a curious, enthusiastic crowd the awarding of $100,000 in Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) funds. Part of the MainStreet Historic Theater Initiative from the New Mexico Economic Development Department, funding will go toward digital movie conversion and will allow the theater to show high-quality, first-run movies, which will also allow the theater to serve as the anchor for commerce in downtown Raton. “The Shuler Theater is a historic treasure and was the original inspiration for what became known as our department’s Historic Theater Initiative,” said Secretary Barela. “When I visited the Shuler Theater, I realized that our historic theaters are unique assets in New Mexico’s MainStreet districts and can serve as vital economic development anchors in rural communities to attract business and commerce.” Raton will also host the statewide Historic Theater Workshop and Networking Meeting on June 19 to help communities
better utilize their historic theaters for economic growth and quality of life. When renovated and upgraded, historic theaters have proven to be a cornerstone of economic development for the Main Street district and have a spillover effect into other businesses. The theater is owned by the City of Raton which will facilitate the conversion. This being a city-owned cultural property allows the theater to become part of the MainStreet Initiative and for the public/private partnership to take place. The Towns of Clayton, Lovington and Silver City have also benefited from the Historic Theater Initiative. The initiative was officially launched in June 2013 by Secretary Barela to increase business in MainStreet districts while preserving the state’s historic theaters. The historic theater initiative is an part of of New Mexico MainStreet and is the only one of its kind in the nation.