ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As the City of Albuquerque ramps up its police presence downtown, they are also doing more to clean up all the trash in the area. The city said as it begins to revitalize downtown and businesses reopen, they want to make sure the area is clean and welcoming.
Adam Campos has been shining shoes downtown for more than 20 years. “Downtown is like home to me,” Campos said. “I really love downtown.”
Campos is the owner of Model Shoe Shine on Gold. Campos said he reopened following the pandemic in February. He said most of his clients are downtown workers who have been working from home, and business is still down by 70 percent. “It has been terrible in the last year or so,” Campos said.
One thing he said is not helping bring people back is all the trash downtown. “A lot of times, I am thinking people might be afraid to come down here,” Campos said.
Campos said with downtown being a ghost town during the pandemic, more transients moved in and left more trash behind. Patti Hoech, who owns Patrician Design downtown, said it has gotten worse. “There is booze, bottles, feces, and so much that is unmentionable,” Hoech said. “It is not even funny. We are horrified by it.”
Now, the city is ramping up efforts to clean the area. Starting August 1, the city is dedicating a litter crew and a graffiti crew to clean up downtown streets and alleyways. They will also be adding a street sweeper target alleys Saturday and Sunday mornings when businesses said trash builds up the most. “Now by having a dedicated crew here, they just continually go through the area and can address a certain street four to five times a day as opposed to just twice a day,” Matthew Whelan, director of the city’s Solid Waste Department, said.
Campos said he hopes the cleanup will bring people back. “We have a real nice downtown, and we need to take care of it,” Campos said.
Street sweepers will also be working with the Albuquerque Police Department to remove homeless encampments and offer those people services they may need. The city is also investing more than $1 million to add or improve lighting downtown. That will include street lights and alleyway lighting on city-owned buildings.