ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A city councilor would like to see a historic fire station restored. Councilor Isaac Benton is hoping to get funding to upgrade the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Fire Station.
The fire station has been a city landmark since 1987 and is one of the oldest fire stations in the city. Councilor Benton says the resolution is meant to preserve history.
“This is one of the most important historic sites in the city of Albuquerque. The railroad coming to that area at that time in the late 19th century, was what made modern Albuquerque,” says Councilor Benton, District 2.
The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Fire Station was built in 1920. It makes up part of the twenty-seven-acre Rail Yards site near 2nd Street and Atlantic Avenue.
However, as the years went by, it’s been suffering from vandalism and weather deterioration. Councilor Benton is hoping to change that with a new resolution that would fund new upgrades and maintenance work.
“The city’s job is to stabilize these buildings and to make sure they’re preserved,” says Councilor Benton.
Councilor Benton says a fence has already been placed to prevent further vandalism. He says other upgrades could include adding new cameras to the outside of the building to add more security. Once the renovations are done, Benton says they’ll look into turning the station into a business.
“A lot of people have discussed, well maybe that would be a great place for a restaurant or a brewpub or something like that. Something where there’s kind of more a public use that’s near the street,” says Councilor Benton.
Although the resolution has not been approved, it’s already getting a positive reaction from residents in the area.
Travis Black has lived in the area since 2007 and says he can see the neglected building every day from his home. “We love everything that’s being done in the railyards area to enhance the neighborhood. We take our kids over there just on the sidewalk, to ride scooters and that kind of thing. So anything they do over there is a huge boom to our lives,” says resident Travis Black.
If the resolution were to pass, Benton hopes to get funding as early as this spring. The city would then move forward with hiring a contractor.
The councilor says there are no project designs as of yet, however, they estimate the upgrades could cost up to $1 million.