ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Restaurants, kayaking, canoeing and even swimming. Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry is rallying community support for a plan to make a river walk of sorts along the Rio Grande.
Tuesday he took city councilors, conservationists and business leaders on a tour of what he thinks will be this city's next big thing. Members hopped in buses and even walked parts of a 10-mile stretch of the bosque that's up for development stretching from Interstate 40 North to Alameda Boulevard.
The mayor pointed out places he believes are ideal for boardwalks, swimming holes and restaurants. Berry says the plan would be a partnership among the city, state and federal governments along with private business.
He believes if the city puts in some of the infrastructure, like opening up access to the river, private developers and businesses will jump in and do the rest.
"We are at a time where you have to have public/private partnerships," Berry said. "We can't just build this with taxpayer dollars.
"There are good public-sector investments we can make that will spur private-sector development, but we have to do it together."
Besides funding, a main concern with the plan is destroying the bosque's ecosystem.
"As someone who grew up here and grew up in the valley, anything that is done here is going to be done in a very sensitive way," said City Councilor Debbie O'Malley who serves the district where the development would happen.
The mayor said there will be people in place to make sure the bosque is protected.
He is currently asking the city council to approve a $150,000 contract to gather ideas so the council can put together a more concrete plan of what should be done.
Berry believes the project will create jobs, promote tourism and improve the quality of life in Albuquerque.
So far there is no estimate on a price tag. The mayor says that's because he believes it a project that can be done in pieces and will take shape as developers decide.
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