By Carolyn Carlson
Keshet Dance Company has a new home—the historic KiMo Theatre. At the Monday, June 1 meeting, councilors approved two measures forging a partnership with Keshet to operate the KiMo and lease the Freed Building next door. Keshet has about $150,000 in state money to spend on programs.
The dance company has set a high goal for the KiMo by saying it wants to put on events 300 nights a year. Keshet may not be able to fulfill that lofty number during its first year but will certainly bring a wide variety of theatrical art to the city’s grande dame of venues.
During some good-natured banter between Councilor Rey Garduño and city administrators, he offered theater advice his father passed on to him as a teen. “He told me to never go to a burlesque show: You might see something you are not supposed to. And I did; I saw my father in the front row.”
The Council, minus Debbie O’Malley, hacked off the real meat of the agenda, including the gross receipts transportation tax, a rail transit system and future Tax Increment Development Districts.
Council President Isaac Benton asked his colleagues to shoot down any city modifications to the infrastructure in the area near University and Redondo Drive. According to the resolution, UNM would like to build a 12,000-square-foot health clinic and a more than 400-spot parking structure on the western edge of the University of New Mexico.
UNM does not need city permission to build but does need the city’s OK to make improvements to infrastructure such as streets. A number of residents in the Spruce Park and Sycamore neighborhoods spoke about how the project will increase pollution and traffic congestion to and from I-40. This, they said, would “kill our neighborhoods.”
State Rep. Gail Chasey stopped by to encourage the Council to enter into a conversation about the UNM project. There was no opposition for the University’s plans for another parking garage near Lomas and Yale that would yield an additional 825 parking spaces. Between the two parking structures, UNM plans on spending nearly $30 million.
Several councilors said the Lomas and Yale structure would be sufficient and suggested more UNM drivers should ride the bus to campus. The mayor’s representatives said the administration supports the measure.
Shortly before adjourning, councilors approved amending the city’s red-light camera operations to comply with state requirements, such as capping first-time fines at $75.
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