ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – What would get you to hang out downtown in that sea of concrete known as Civic Plaza?
It’s a mystery the city’s always trying to solve, now a downtown non-profit group is asking you to chime in through a new online survey.
“I think we can ask people to dream big,” said Zoya Dixon, a downtown advocate.
Zoya Dixon has a mission downtown to revamp Albuquerque’s most notorious unshaded, concrete slab called “Civic Plaza.”
“There is a lot of potential for this space, and that it’s underutilized a lot of the time,” said Dixon, a program manager for Downtown ABQ MainStreet.
Dixon’s group is now asking the public, in a new survey called “Civic Plaza Visioning,” what they want to see in the vast public space.
“Making a place where people just want to come and linger and hang out,” said Dixon.
Among a host of ideas, some include the concept of installing a staffed sports equipment rental station. Another idea could put a pop-up restaurant and beer garden in the space, even a permanent water feature that kids could play in, commonly called a “spray and play.”
The group has around $200,000 to spend on a big-ticket idea. Some of that grant money has already been spent on new sandboxes and café style tables.
“Let’s really get people out here and make an impact,” said Dixon.
It’s no secret though, lots of people in other parts of town have given up on Civic Plaza over the years.
“It’s just empty all the time,” said Nicole Barela, an Albuquerque mother with kids.
“I don’t hear about events,” said Teresa Weinstein of Albuqueruqe.
“I don’t really see anything that interests me there,” said Fabien Madrid of Albuquerque.
The city says one of the biggest factors keeping them from putting any new big structures on top of civic plaza, is the parking garage underneath it. The mayor’s office say the structure of the garage just can’t support that much more weight on top.
However, organizers think they can put a big draw in without the city spending the 20 to 30 million dollars it would take to rebuild the Plaza.
“We really need the community’s input to really drive what that’s going to look like,” said Dixon.
City leaders agree and encourage people to take part in the survey.
“Sometimes working with what you’ve got, and making people excited about what you have is the key,” said Gilbert Montano, Chief of Staff for Mayor R.J. Berry’s Office.
The city says it’s also considered the idea of a “spray and play” water park at Civic Plaza. To do that, the city has looked at the idea of removing the large water fountain which has been leaking water for a long a time.
For a link to the survey, click here.