Created: 04/30/2014 10:19 PM
By: Danielle Todesco, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Santa Fe's new mayor Javier Gonzales has several ideas in mind for changes on the plaza. Danielle Todesco sat down with the Mayor to hear more about his plaza plan, and his focus for the city.
There are already more police patrols on the plaza. Mayor Gonzales says that was one thing he could do quickly when he got into office. But he has bigger proposals for the plaza that could bring big changes if they pass.
"It's been a busy six weeks. It's been a fun six weeks," Mayor Gonzales said.
That is how long the new Mayor has been in office so far, and he's already crossing some things off his "to do" list. On top of police patrols, he has added "no loitering" signs at the iconic bandstand and has chained off the entry, restricted to anyone without a permit. That was all in hopes of cleaning up the area plagued with transients and partiers.
"So far, so good. We're getting a great response from merchants and visitors, and others who feel the like the makeup is starting to change over time," Gonzales said.
But he plans to do more. His proposal to completely cut off traffic around the plaza has already gone through two committees and a public hearing, where it got mixed reaction. He says he wants to make the plaza safer for pedestrians. But he says he is not closed off to compromise.
"I want to be a mayor that brings people to the table, that looks to collaboration when focusing on moving the city forward," he said.
Merchants I spoke with say above all else, they need to cater to the people who pay the bills.
"We have to take care of the tourists," Mike Kari of the store Cowboys and Indians said.
Gonzales understands that. But he says he wants to make life better for the locals as well. His primary focus is building the economy, boosting tourism, and making sure there are jobs for residents now and in the future. This Santa Fe native and father of two has four years to prove it.
His proposal for restricting traffic around the plaza still has to go through several committees. Then it would be up for a vote by the City Council before it passes.