Residents provide feedback on improving downtown Albuquerque

Residents provide feedback on improving downtown Albuquerque

City leaders are taking a good hard look at downtown Albuquerque and how they can improve it.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – City leaders are taking a good hard look at downtown Albuquerque and how they can improve it.

There’s been similar discussions before, but the newest effort is called the Downtown Redevelopment Plan. It kicked off late last year. 

On Wednesday, people got to share what’s wrong, what’s right, and what they want to see in what should be the heart of the Duke City. 

“Well I live downtown, but I practically avoid it all outside of my condo, the parking garage. We park in the parking garage, and it’s scary too. You really have to be careful,” said Marjie Marler who lives downtown.

According to a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency, the Downtown Redevelopment Plan hasn’t been updated since 2004. 

“You don’t see anyone but the homeless, and you never see a policeman or a normal person. It’s all panhandlers and the homeless, and they’re everywhere,” said Marler.  

Stations with poster boards asked for feedback on downtown.  

“We’ve been downtown for over 50 years, and what’s changed in the 50 years is just flat scary. We’ve had a business downtown and even in the last 10 years it’s gone downhill,” said Jay Johnston, a downtown business owner. 

Another question asked what people want downtown to look like in 10 years. 

“Art, not the bus,” said Jesus Munoz who attended the city meeting. “Downtown thrives with art and artists. So I’d love to see more art, more cultural events, more things happening downtown other than just bars and food. I think art helps bring community.” 

There was also a lot of bathroom talk, or at least that’s what several people wrote they really want to see added in our downtown plans.

As far as where you would take visitors? 

“Railyards. And then I live really close to the Transformers on Lomas and 4th, those are really cool, and there’s really cool cafés and coffee shops down here,” said Jonesy.

APD recently added more than 100 lights downtown and plans to spend $1.8 million updating lighting infrastructure. But people still say they’d avoid downtown completely after dark.

“Because you don’t know what’s lurking out there,” said Jonesy.

Some new businesses are getting ready to open in downtown. Ex Novo is setting up in the former Firestone building at 7th and Central. A block away, a company is working to restore the historic Hotel Blue. 

A spokesperson for APD says they’ve recently added cameras, gunshot detection, and license plate readers downtown.

They also established a program with business owners to increase the number of officers on patrol to make the area safer.

City officials are hoping to have the redevelopment plan finalized by this summer, and will take tonight’s discussions into consideration. Then, it will go to city council.