ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – There are some iconic stops along Route 66 in Albuquerque. from the KiMo Theater to the Dog House Drive-In. Now, the City of Albuquerque is using federal relief money to try and draw people back to those spots.
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From Tramway along east Central all the way west to 118th street. Central Ave. is the star of the show in a new campaign called “ABQ 66-Explore the Real Original”.
Richard Kuhn, the executive director of RK Venture, is leading the campaign. “The whole idea behind this was to build awareness for the Route 66 corridor,” said Kuhn. “And all the businesses, the galleries, the retail shops, the restaurants that are up and down this amazing, iconic thoroughfare and let people know these businesses are up and operating.”
Kuhn said ABQ 66 will play up Albuquerque’s neon signage and feature spots all along Central Avenue. “That takes you on a route all the way down Route 66 to see all sorts of businesses here,” added Kuhn.
They’ve already started rolling out ads on social media and the radio which they believe could reach as many as two million people, trying to grab the attention of locals and people visiting the city, encouraging them to shop local on Central and that’s not all. Starting as early as next week, banners will go up along Central.
Officials say it’s all part of the campaign to highlight the unique districts along Route 66 like the International District, EDo, and Nob Hill. To fund the campaign, the City of Albuquerque is spending half a million dollars using money from the federal CARES Act. It’s part of their economic recovery plan from the pandemic.
But businesses along Central have been struggling since the 2008 recession and then the hardships they faced with the construction of the ART and now trying to stay afloat as the pandemic continues. “It’s just battling one kind of strife after another,” said the Mariposa Gallery owner.
KRQE News 13 spoke with the owner of a small gallery along Central who said she hopes this campaign will draw more people in. “I just gotta be hopeful that things do pick up,” said the owner. The ABQ 66 campaign will run through the end of the year.