City eyes federal grant for downtown renovations

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The city has big ideas for a busy part of Albuquerque.

It’s asking for federal money to build a new bridge connecting east downtown to downtown, an area known as Innovation Central.

Cruising Central could take on a whole new meaning if Albuquerque is awarded a $15 million federal transportation investment, or Tiger grant to renovate part of Central Avenue.

“Trying to take away that mote if you will between the rest of the city and downtown which is the underpass at the railroad tracks,” Mayor R.J. Berry said.

The plan includes adding a pedestrian crossing on Central next to the Alvarado Transportation Center.

The path near Central and First Street would connect downtown to Innovate Albuquerque.

The hub for startup businesses will be the First Baptist Church on central and Broadway.

With the pedestrian crossing above ground people can easily make their way downtown to restaurants or shops during the day and when the nightlife takes over Central.

“Rather than having to go under the overpass and I think it makes it safer for our citizens, it makes it much more inviting,” said Dewey Cave of the Mid Region Council of Governments. “It’ll be a total different feeling for people that are utilizing the downtown area.”

The city teamed up with transit officials to go after the grant.

“I instead of having 12 different projects, combining our resources, our talents, our energies into one application that’s a regional application and when that happens, it really increases our chances,” Berry said.

Even though the city has applied for the funding, it’s not a done deal.

There are other communities also vying for the federal money.

If Albuquerque receives the grant the city would match it and the renovations would likely be complete a couple years from now.

You may have noticed in the renderings a building on the west side of the train tracks across from the Alvarado transportation center where a parking lot now sits.

There are no plans to build anything there now but the city is looking for ideas from developers.

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