An extended agreement for management of the Pecos River Village Conference Center between the City of Carlsbad and Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce had both entities looking ahead after COVID-19 impacted most functions for more than a year.
The City and Chamber were in the final year of a four-year agreement to operate the Pecos River Village Conference Center when the State of New Mexico enacted public health restrictions in March 2020 that shuttered in-person conferences and meetings across the state.
“People couldn’t rent it out for weddings or for trainings or anything like that,” said Chad Ingram, chief executive officer, of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce.
As restrictions slowly lifted, he said the Pecos River Village Conference Center reopened for trainings.
“Now that things are somewhat back to normal, I think we’ll have to be cautious with it and do what we can to ensure we can move forward in this new normal,” he said.
July 21, Carlsbad’s City Council approved a new four-year agreement retroactive from July 1 of this year until June 30, 2025, read a memo from City of Carlsbad Municipal Services Director Angie Testa.
Testa said the former agreement, executed in 2017, expired on June 30, 2021.
Ingram expressed excitement that the Pecos River Village Conference Center was back in business and a new agreement was signed.
“We’re excited to work with the City, that has been a great project for a number of years. We’re just excited that the City and Chamber of Commerce can continue to move forward and really start advertising our facility as a premiere conference center in this part of the state,” he said.
According to the agreement, the City owns the property and in 2009, the Chamber provided tourist-related promotional services and oversaw operations and management of the Pecos River Village Conference Center.
“We would like the Chamber of Commerce to continue to promote the Pecos River Village Conference Center as an upscale location for business meetings, community events, training, conferences and a wide variety of other activities. We’re very fortunate to have a beautiful conference center right along the Pecos River,” said Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway.
The Pecos River Village Conference Center is located at 701 Muscatel St.
Christmas on the Pecos moves forward
Last year, COVID-19 meant a decades-long Carlsbad Christmas tradition where passengers marvel at festive houses along the Pecos River from boats went online.
But this year, the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce is planning to bring back Christmas on the Pecos for in-person boat rides as the health crisis appeared to wane.
Ingram said the Pecos River Village Conference Center is the focal point for this year’s rides, which traditionally starts the day after Thanksgiving and ends at New Year’s.
“Christmas on the Pecos is not just a boat ride. It’s an experience and the Pecos River Conference Center and the village around there are all going to be part of that (big) vision that we have,” he said.
Ingram said tourist events like Christmas on the Pecos showed the Pecos River Village Conference Center is a market for tourism.
“When we do Christmas on the Pecos and launch from that facility, we see thousands of people that come in from out-of-state (and) out-of-town to go down there. What a great place to showcase Carlsbad,” he said.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at MSmith@currentargus.com or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.