ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s been nearly three decades in the making, and now the vision of a Route 66 Visitor Center at the top of Nine Mile Hill is becoming a reality. “This is 29 years, 29 years in the making,” said Bernalillo County Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada.
Since 1992, community leaders in southwest Albuquerque have been working toward the groundbreaking for the upcoming Route 66 Visitor Center at the top of Nine Mile Hill on West Central. “It seems as though the struggle to ensure our area receives equity and the investment it deserves has always been an uphill battle, but today that changes,” said City Councilor Klarissa Peña.
The Visitor Center will have a taproom, a drive-in movie area, a neon sign graveyard, and a long-awaited lowrider museum. “It’s such a wonderful representation, all of that coming together, all that makes us Burque,” said Mayor Tim Keller.
It hasn’t been easy getting this project off the ground, with a price tag that has more than tripled, starting at under $3.5 million, now phase one alone will cost $10.3 million. Because of that price tag, the project received pushback from other community leaders.
In 2019, City Councilor Trudy Jones told KRQE the city had bigger priorities. “We’re playing with other people’s money, this is tax payer’s money, it’s not our money and we have so many important and needy projects,” said Jones.
However, those who advocated for the center say it’ll draw in tourists and locals, giving them a chance to take in the Old Route 66 feel, and celebrate some of Albuquerque’s rich culture. Phase one of the Visitor Center is expected to take about 13 months to finish.