ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city of Albuquerque has dozens and dozens of requests for state funding for everything from libraries and parks to cop cars and road projects, but one of the ongoing themes is to fix up the city’s most iconic street, Route 66. “It will be great. It will tie the city together and just create beautiful space. Right [now] I think that we really have an opportunity to really work together collectively to identify what needs we have in our community,” said Albuquerque City Councilor, Klarissa Peña.
One of several capital outlay requests is the push to bring new life to the corner of Central and Unser. Councilor Peña says her $15 million dollar request to move the Unser racing museum from its current north valley home to Central, is all about restoring Route 66 glory. “The interstate was built and it took all the commerce and drove all the business away from Central. So, we have all these wonderful attractions along Central and if we can just tie them all together and really create a tourist destination route, I think it will just be perfect,” said Peña.
The city’s also asking for $5 million to spruce up Central in time for the Route 66 centennial coming up in 2026. “As we prepare for this celebration, I think several of us councilors have looked at our respective districts and said, ‘hey, these are some of the things we can do to really improve and help to redevelop,” added Peña.
Hoping to add to Central’s makeover, the city’s asking for $2.5 million for a park next to the new International District Library. Over on the east side of Central, City Councilor Renee Grout is also looking to help spruce up the stretch and is asking for seed money for a study to build a welcome archway and $80,000 toward fencing near Tramway, a known hotspot for campers and panhandlers.
“It needs to look nicer than it does right now but it’s been cut and patched so many times we just need stronger fencing. People don’t need to be going into the roadways and just trying to keep people safer,” said Councilor Grout.
Councilor Peña is also looking for $15 million to expand the property at the Route 66 visitors center to add more parking and build a pedestrian overlook bridge. The mayor is also asking for $4 million in capital outlay to go towards a police station in the UNM-Nob Hill area.