Mayor Keller delivers 2023 State of the City address

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M – Mayor Tim Keller delivered the 2023 State of the City address at the Rail Yards Saturday. 

The mayor spent an hour highlighting new projects and initiatives aimed at making Albuquerque a more dynamic city. He also focused on the issues plaguing our community right now.

“It’s the season of renewal and revitalization, and when it comes to the heart of our city we know that rejuvenation is trending,” said Keller.  

New parks, community centers, Albuquerque International Sunport renovations, and high-speed internet access all sparkled in Keller’s State of the City address which put a spotlight on real burqueños, and the real issues they’re facing.

“The hardest part for me was the phone call. That day was the worst day of my life,” said Vanessa Sawyer, Bennie Hargrove’s grandmother. 

Bennie Hargrove’s story provided a vehicle for Mayor Keller to take a stand against gun violence.

“This summer we are cracking down on guns. We are going to triangulate existing restrictions around schools to aggressively target any crime with a gun anywhere in downtown Albuquerque,” said Keller. 

Keller added the city is planning to pursue federal charges for those crimes to make sure criminals stay off the streets. He’s also promising to keep those streets clear of scenes like this.

“We learned from Coronado Park. We also learned from First and Indian School where we demonstrated we can both get people into housing and clean out those problematic encampments, and that’s why going forward, we will not allow tent cities in Albuquerque,” said Keller. 

Panhandlers are also getting the boot.

“This summer we are going to begin enforcing median safety measures to protect our most dangerous roads, both pedestrians and drivers,” Keller said.  

The mayor admitted Albuquerque’s homelessness problem is connected to a citywide housing shortage, but says a proposed solution to change zoning laws is out of his hands.

“Next week, our city councils got some tough decisions to make that is really going to define our city for generations to come,” said Keller. 

Keller revealed current generations can redefine parts of the city in another way.

“To enshrine all of our stories, we’re announcing today the ‘Albuquerque Stories of Us’ project. This is where you can help us rename parks, trees, benches, streets, community rooms, all after real people who make our city great,” Keller said. 

A fitting finale for a speech titled “The Power of Us.”

“Our story is still in progress, we are an unfinished canvas, our story is still alive, and it holds the promise of a brighter future for ourselves and for our children,” said Keller.  

There was clearly a focus on real people in the State of the City address. The mayor started his speech by saying things would be a little different than year’s past. His presentation included several pre-taped stories from citizens who have faced issues like crime, addiction, and homelessness firsthand, and were able to overcome them.

Keller says through each of those stories you can see a city on the rise. 

The mayor also highlighted several city achievements in his speech, including a thriving community safety department which will soon operate 24/7, one of the largest Albuquerque Police Department cadet classes in recent years, increased crime-fighting technology, and the city’s first hotel-to-housing project.

Mayor Keller also announced Saturday the city is planning to double the number of dog parks across the city in the new few years.

Another major point of emphasis for the mayor is to increase public safety in downtown Albuquerque.