ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Downtown Albuquerque has a much brighter much more upbeat look at night now. Though most people probably haven’t seen it yet because, with the bars, clubs, and theater closed, it’s a ghost town at night.
The streets of downtown Albuquerque may be empty but they’re a lot brighter these days. “I think it looks great. we don’t get Christmas decorations down here anymore,” says Dawn Vatoseow, owner of Lindy’s Diner.
The City of Albuquerque installed these festoon lights in early November along both sides of Central from First Street all the way up to Eighth. “They’re year-round, they’re there, permanently now and we feel they add character to downtown,” said Public Information Officer Johnny Chandler, with the Department of Municipal Development.
Vatoseow says the lights are an energizing addition to the area and she hopes to see more soon. “It was helpful to have a little bit of extra lighting which is nice. It would be nice if they strung them along the side streets as well,” Vatoseow says.
The city says the new lighting is part of an effort to make downtown safer and to transform the area into a destination when things do start to reopen. “These local companies are really sticking it out they believe in downtown Albuquerque, they believe it’s going to come back and we want to see what we can do to help them and little things like this we hope as a city shows them that we still care,” Chandler says.
Those businesses that are still hanging in there say they are thankful for the effort. “It definitely enhances the look down here and every little bit helps,” Vatoseow says. The festoon lights cost about $72,000. The city says it’s also working to re-do the intersection and underpass at First and Central.