ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – “My family is Martinez. That’s what the town is named after, my mom’s family.” For Loretta Naranjo Lopez, the Santa Barbara-Martineztown Neighborhood is home and has been for decades.
“I’m sixth generation here. I grew up in the same street that my mom and dad grew up in, and I own the house where my dad was born in,” she said.
The original San Ignacio Catholic Church built in 1916 and the Second Presbyterian Church on Edith are examples of what she says gives the neighborhood its historic charm, and she doesn’t want to see that charm go anywhere.
That’s why the neighborhood is requesting a Historic Protection Overlay to keep the traditional feel of Santa Barbara-Martineztown just the way it is.
“We feel that our community has long been ignored about the cultural significance of this area, and we wanna make sure that it’s valued,” Naranjo Lopez said.
A Historic Protection Overlay was created by City Council to protect areas in Albuquerque with historical significance. The city said there are currently seven of them, one being Old Town. It would add dozens of rules about what property owners can and can’t do to their homes, specifically exterior changes.
While Naranjo Lopez said she’s heard a few concerns about the restrictions, but for the most part, people are on board.
“Like, changing your windows, how many times do you change your windows? It’s not very often, right?”
This is not the first time the neighborhood has tried to protect its cultural identity. According to documents, the State Historic Perseveration Department rejected a previous application, citing a lack of building integrity. However, this application is going before the city, instead.
This time, Naranjo Lopez believes the city will see the value of the neighborhood’s rich history. “We’re saying this is the time to get it done, finally,” she said.
The application is on the agenda at the Landmarks Commission meeting Wednesday night. That’s the first step in the process. If approved, it will eventually go to City Council for final approval.