Silver City is in a period of transition. To what, residents are not yet sure. From what? Although its name indicates silver, the town has long been a copper mining town, with mines to its south and east that gave residents (relatively) steady employment. But many believe that the copper may soon run out, or that its current boom in market prices won't last.
So what will become of Silver City? It has potential for tourism, with a charming main street, strong connections to the Gila National Forest, and a vibrant arts community. It could become a mecca for retirees, with relatively low home prices, a regional medical center, and mild climate. While for some, these options seem best, an opportunity to both sell and preserve the town's character. Others worry that tourism and retirement won't help the town retain its young people or provide middle-class jobs that would be lost if the copper industry were to disappear -- they suggest the town needs to work harder to attract light industry and other, more diverse employers.
It seems likely that Silver City will retain its wide variety of employers and revenue sources. With the closest large city (Las Cruces, NM) about two hours away, the town's population will likely remain stable. There is safety in this stability, and time for the town to decide what it is, and what it would like to become and how to use its wide variety of historical, cultural, and environmental resources.
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Built to Last: An Architectural History of Silver City, New Mexico, by Susan Berry and Sharman Apt Russell, 1995.
Lost Landscapes and Failed Economies: The Search for a Value of Place, by Thomas Power, 1996.
Town Shopping: Maintaining karmic balance in the New West’s real estate economy in High Country News, an article about Silver City from 2006