ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a challenge for towns and businesses across the state, now Bernalillo County is working on a plan to get drivers off I-40 and back on to old Route 66 to spend their money.
“Get off the highway, Route 66 runs parallel to I-40 and instead of just zipping through I-40, get off at Route 66 and see what we have,” says District Five Commissioner Charlene Pyskoty.
Business owners on Route 66 will tell you, “Look at my cards and invoices, Historic Route 66, it’s the mother road,” says Earl Robinson. There is a lot of pride in working on this road. “Everybody knows of Route 66. As a kid, I remember traveling Route 66 with my parents to California,” says Lawrence Olguin.
Now Bernalillo County Commissioners are renewing their push to lure more business into the East Route 66 area, a six-mile stretch from Tijeras to the edge of the county. “We’re open for business here but it has to be the right kind of business,” Pyskoty.
Locals say right now, there aren’t a lot of reasons for drivers to exit the freeway. “We don’t really have any natural or manmade attractions right here in this area,” Robinson says.
Starting this month, the county is inviting landowners and business owners to meetings about bringing new life to the area. The county is looking at making it easier for property owners to rezone the land to house new businesses.
“We’re not looking to bring in any kind of big-box business or fast food establishments. This is all local businesses that we want to build up to showcase the local area,” Pyskoty.
It’s business that locals say is welcome in the east mountains. “Anything that generates revenue or generates an opportunity for local employees or small business people, in all for that,” Robinson says.
The county will host meetings for the next three months, the first one is next week. For more information on those meetings, click here.