ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - It's a one-mile stretch of Central Avenue with some of the Albuquerque's top attractions.
Between Laguna Boulevard SW and the Rio Grande sits the city's Aquarium, Botanic Gardens, Tingley Beach and Old Town plaza.
But there's also a lot of blight in that section of road. The road has plenty of abandoned storefronts, empty lots and not-so-picturesque businesses lining it.
"We looked to see if there's been development in the area, and we found that it was a little lacking compared to some other parts of the city," said Rebecca Velarde with the city's planning department.
To turn it around, city planners have come up with the Historic Central Metropolitan Redevelopment Plan. That plan includes ideas for a facelift of sorts including more public art, median improvements and funding for businesses to improve their facades.
Other elements include better lighting, pedestrian and biking accessibility.
Velarde told KRQE News 13 small changes can make a big difference.
"You want to create an area that people are excited to be in, that people are drawn to and things that are little like how the front of a building looks really determine if people are drawn to the area or not," Velarde said.
But the plan's big focus is on two "catalyst" projects.
One is a two-acre site just east of Rio Grande Boulevard north of Central. Right now it's mostly made up of a city parking lot.
Planners believe the area is greatly underutilized right now and could hold anything from a residential building to office space.
The other big project is the El Vado motel, perhaps the biggest eyesore on the stretch of Central the plan covers right now.
The city owns the property but it's in rough shape sitting behind a barbed wire-topped chain link fence. Behind that fence windows are boarded up and weeds spring up through the asphalt parking lot.
The mess sits rights across the street from theBioPark Aquarium and Botanic Gardens.
"A great developer could come in, redevelop this property and spur other economic development activity with this site," Velarde said.
Currently the plan is just a draft and needs to be approved by the City Council. A committee is set to look at it in October.
If it's approved, Velarde says the first immediate step will be getting an overhaul of the El Vado Motel site going.
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