Sabot L'ours (sabotlours) wrote,
Sabot L'ours

Urban Renewal

One of the problems of ABQ that I have been harping on ever since I moved here has been the lack of a downtown. Oh sure, the true downtown is just a couple of blocks to the west of the office, but it's not a place where you would want to go to for entertainment purposes. Take away the government and bank buildings and you're not left with much else. There is a nice movie theater and the "meat faucet" restaurant near the bus/train station, but that area is sketchy even during the day. I sometimes walk there to see the Southwest Chief and I always end up playing "Spot the Drug Deal." There's also Old Town about a mile to the west which is the tourist hub of the city. About a mile to the east is the University District which has numerous restaurants and Popejoy Auditorium. Just a little further east is Nob Hill which is what I would call the true cultural hub of the city with lots of restaurants and shops. The one thing that ties all of these areas together is Central Ave a.k.a. Old Route 66. It has been my feeling that perhaps if we don't have a true downtown, we could have an entertainment corridor stretching for 7 miles which would contain all sorts of entertainment and shopping options. I have seen this slowly evolving over the 17 years that I've lived here. Old dilapidated businesses have been torn down or renovated. New high-end apartments have opened up. And the city will soon be constructing a bus rapid transit system. One of the forgotten areas had been the one just north of the office which is between the downtown and The University. Things have been improving over the years, though. A few upscale restaurants have opened up just in the past few years. An old burger joint is now a premium burger joint. It seems that new places are opening up on a regular basis. Earlier this week I saw yet another very welcome sight. They're tearing down a Baptist Church compound just to the south of the office. They're going to construct a high-tech incubator. This is great news! It kills 2 birds with one stone. It will bring good, high-paying jobs and a lot of smart people as well as getting rid of a huge bum magnet. The church was the focal point for the homeless since they provided free lunch. The place was swarming with bums every lunch hour. Now that there will be no more free lunch, it might not be so scary to walk under the railroad tracks towards downtown without worrying about being accosted for change or having to dodge the puddles of urine and/or piles of feces.
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