ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – For many businesses in Nob Hill, Route 66 Summerfest is an event they look forward to every year. But businesses set up in East Nob Hill say they’re missing out on all the action this year all because of Albuquerque Rapid Transit construction.
For the past seven years, Route 66 Summerfest stretched all the way from Girard and Central up to Washington. This year though, it’s been cut in half at Central and Carlisle. Business owners east of Carlisle say the city is forcing them to miss out on the biggest money making day of the year.
“That’s just totally against what they said they would do,” said Robert Steinberg, owner of Stone Mountain Bead Gallery.
Orange barrels and construction crews have become a familiar sight for those living and working along Central Avenue. Nearly one year later, work is still being done.
With Route 66 Summerfest just one day away, business owners in East Nob Hill say it’s ruining their Summerfest experience.
“We are going to miss out on the biggest day of the year,” said Steinberg.
Steinberg owns Stone Mountain Bead Gallery. Steinberg’s store is sandwiched in between Central and Carlisle and Central and Washington, the part of Nob Hill being excluded from Summerfest this year.
Steinberg says being a business in Nob Hill, Summerfest is the most lucrative day of the year, but not this year.
“Between the craft fair and impact of having thousands of people walk by my store and come in and check it out and probably come in later to do shopping too, it could easily be 10 to 20 times the impact of a normal slow day. We are going to miss all of that now,” said Steinberg.
There are nearly 20 other businesses who Steinberg says are also upset.
The city says each one of those businesses has been offered the chance to set up a table between Girard and Carlisle where Route 66 Summerfest will take place this year.
“We definitely have reached out to those businesses on the east side of Nob Hill to accommodate them into the event area this year,” said Dana Feldman, Cultural Services Department.
Steinberg says he didn’t want to take the city up on their offer.
“I think we were offered like a table somewhere out in the boonies on Monte Vista. I said that’s ridiculous. Not only would I only be able to bring more than a tenth of a percent of what I have in the store to the table, but also nobody sees the store. The idea is to have thousands of people coming by the store, coming in, seeing things and buying things,” said Steinberg.
Officials say construction will be stopped during this time. Since the city had to downsize, side streets like Monte Vista and Bryn Mawr will have many of the activities that people expect.
“For about 11 months now, the people who planned this event have known that we are going to have to work around ART construction. We’ve done that. We’ve done that successfully. Our goal was to keep it in as much of Nob Hill as possible and we’ve done that,” said Feldman.
The city will be offering the free Park and Ride service. Officials say in hopes of attracting people to East Nob Hill, they’ve set up three shuttle stops at Washington, Morningside and Carlisle.