Elks Area is a neighborhood in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Las Cruces, also known as “The City of the Crosses”, is the county seat of Doña Ana County, New Mexico, United States. Las Cruces is the largest city in both Doña Ana County and southern New Mexico. The Las Cruces metropolitan area had an estimated population of 213,676 in 2014. It is the principal city of a metropolitan statistical area which encompasses all of Doña Ana County and is part of the larger El Paso–Las Cruces combined statistical area.
Las Cruces is the economic and geographic center of the Mesilla Valley, the agricultural region on the floodplain of the Rio Grande which extends from Hatch to the west side of El Paso, Texas. Las Cruces is the home of New Mexico State University (NMSU), New Mexico’s only land-grant university. The city’s major employer is the federal government on nearby White Sands Test Facility and White Sands Missile Range. The Organ Mountains, 10 miles to the east, are dominant in the city’s landscape, along with the Doña Ana Mountains, Robledo Mountains, and Picacho Peak. Las Cruces lies 225 miles south of Albuquerque, 48 miles northwest of El Paso, Texas and 46 miles north of the Mexican border at Santa Teresa.
Unlike many cities its size, Las Cruces lacks a true central business district. This is because in the 1960s an urban-renewal project tore down a large part of the original downtown. Most Las Crucens would agree that the modern “heart” of the city, where most stores and restaurants are located, is the rapidly developing east side. Las Cruces’ shopping mall and a variety of retail stores and restaurants are located in this area.
Several water tanks in Las Cruces have been painted with murals by Tony Pennock, including one at the intersection of Triviz Drive and Griggs Avenue. Multimedia artist group Keep Adding have a large mural titled Wave Nest on Picacho Avenue at the Lion’s Park. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces.
Public schools are in the Las Cruces Public School District, which covers the city of Las Cruces as well as White Sands Missile Range, the settlement of Doña Ana, and the town of Mesilla. The system has 26 elementary schools, nine middle schools, and six high schools. Of the high schools, Rio Grande Preparatory is an alternative high school.