A new 7-step plan to revitalize Albuquerque's downtown unveiled
The revitalization of Albuquerque’s downtown has now been laid out in a new 7-step plan released by city officials dubbed “Downtown FORWARD”.
This new initiative will look to create a safe, vibrant and inclusive community in the heart of New Mexico’s largest metropolitan area.
At a press conference held Tuesday morning, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said an active downtown will help ensure future prosperity for the city.
“There basically is almost zero cities in America that are prosperous and thriving that do not have a thriving downtown, this has always been true, we remind people of this, it is the heartbeat of New Mexico and because we are the largest urban area and this is the only real urban area in the entire state, that’s why this is so important to all New Mexicans.”
When it comes to the seven steps included in this downtown plan, they are as followed.
- Make downtown safe
- Extend compassion and assistance to those who need it most
- Give people something to do
- Build more housing
- Anchor, connect and catalyze with strategic investments
- Invest in our climate by creating a sustainable downtown
- Create tools for redevelopment
To tackle making downtown more safe for residents and tourists alike, the city and the Albuquerque Police Department have worked on increasing the presence of law enforcement in this area of the city.
At the end of September, the city opened a new downtown public safety center and announced the continued funding of APD’s Targeted Enforcement and Active Monitoring (TEAM) unit.
The Deputy Chief of the Field Services Bureau Joshua Brown said the department is committed to ensuring those downtown feel safe and protected.
“If you come downtown to commit crimes, if you come downtown to disrupt people’s socialization, disrupt economic development, we will take you to jail, it is that simple.”
The city is also dedicating $1 million dollars to lighting improvements to help brighten the alleys on both sides of Central Ave.
When it comes to extending a hand to those in need, the city’s plan focuses on providing access to expanded shelter capacity, which includes the future gateway center that is set to open phase one of its shelter with 50 beds for women only by the end of 2022.
The Albuquerque Community Safety department is also looking into offering more humane and trauma informed responses to individuals who are dealing with a wide array of behavioral, addiction and inebriation issues.
When it comes to giving people who visit downtown something to do, the plan outlines opening local business storefronts, amplifying and augmenting programming at existing public cultural resources and supporting community art and cultural events.
The approach to building more housing is to encourage growth with incentives, partner with housing projects to spark investments and ensure continued housing affordability.
The city’s strategic investments downtown include the revitalization of the railyards and the future construction of the rail trail, both will connect to downtown and allow people to visit and see more of Albuquerque.
The switch to renewable energy, the introduction of electric buses and incentivizing public transit through programs like the “Zero Fare Pilot” program will help push downtown towards more sustainable investments.
Finally, the creation of both a place management organization with Downtown stakeholders and proposed changes to state code that will allow transformational metropolitan redevelopment are some of the tools needed to ensure downtown becomes successful.
Read the full Downtown FORWARD plan here.