City in contest for $100K to improve downtown

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Albuquerque is battling against major cities in a contest to land $100,000 to help revitalize downtown but it will come down to the public to pull off a win.

The city is competing against Philadelphia, Nashville, San Jose, Denver and Louisville for the Living Cities grant.

Each administration is required to complete a video pitching an idea of how it plans to innovate its city.

The focus of the contest is how can city government impact the lives of low-income residents.

Albuquerque pitched it’s idea to the world in a five minute video and didn’t hold anything back on how much the money is needed.

The video mentioned that nearly half the state’s population resides in Albuquerque. Its also a place where unemployment, under employment and under education are pervasive and affects 75% of the population. A city official said its something Albuquerque needs to fix that the city is working on.

Mayor R.J. Berry said they’ve been working on an idea to help all residents secure jobs and jump into the business world.

That’s the focus of the video.

It also mentions how Central will become the innovation corridor and downtown will become the hub of plans for business growth.

The $100,000 that’s up for grabs would pay for programs to help residents be part of it.

“What is it that you need, how can we help you start a business, how can we help you be more entrepreneurial, how can we help you get more education,” Berry said.

It will all come down to how online voters rate each city’s idea.

“You know most of those mayors from those cities; I know most them by name,” Berry said. “I’m hoping to call them up and saying hey we whooped you on this one right.”

Berry said this is all part of a bigger project to revitalize downtown. It includes his plan for “Innovate ABQ,” which would be a hub for entrepreneurs at Broadway and Central and include a new grocery store.

Albuquerque was recently awarded another Living Cities grant.

The city said its also using that money to help develop downtown and it could go toward new dedicated lanes for buses.

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