Council Watch: Hope, Revitalization And Thanks

Council Meets To Strengthen City

Carolyn Carlson
5 min read
Hope, Revitalization and Thanks
Councilors Benton and Davis pledge allegiance to the flag (Eric Williams Photography)
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Several million dollars in hope is on its way to north Downtown after the Albuquerque City Council approved a project that will bring a chance for a better life to some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.

Working Hope

At its
Aug. 20 meeting, the Council tallied up a 5 to 3 approval vote for a homeless housing project—with Democrat Councilors Ken Sanchez, Isaac Benton, Klarissa Peña, Cynthia Borrego and Diane Gibson saying yes and Democrat Councilor Pat Davis joining Republican nay sayer Councilors Brad Winter and Trudy Jones. Councilor Don Harris was excused.

The local homeless service provider St. Martin’s Hopeworks/YES Housing was the sole bidder to build the project that is aptly called Hopeworks Village. This is a proposed 42-unit supportive multi-family housing development for homeless citizens with behavioral health issues. The site is near the St. Martin’s Hospitality Center on Third Street and Mountain. The $2 million in newly approved city funds joins $4 million from the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority and about $3 million in funding and housing vouchers from Bernalillo County.

Many of the public comments were from people who said they live in the neighborhood and they are tired of the homeless population that is already drawn to the area. Many other commenters said this was a good location because it is where the need is most recognizable. Some stressed that it will help get some of the homeless off the street. And this, they said, was a good start at addressing the increasing number of people having to live on the streets due to any number of reasons, from health and behavioral issues to a bad economy in Burque.

Revamping Downtown

Councilors approved a $30 million metropolitan redevelopment bond for
a project in north Downtown. Just about the entire city block, from Lomas on the north to Roma on the south, and 3rd Street on the east and Fourth Street on the west, is slated for rebuild or renovation, except for the portion with the longtime pink Sunwest Silver building that takes up the northwest corner of that block.

In a nutshell, metropolitan redevelopment bonds give developers a tax abatement which in turn their company reinvest back into the project.

Plans for that prime Downtown spot include a new 7-story building with residential, retail, restaurant and other work spaces. Gone will be the longtime parking structure many people used while taking care of courthouse and other Downtown business. Other buildings on the property will be renovated with many exterior and interior upgrades. Check it out here:

Stepping Up Thunderously

Wow! All these Albuquerque folks
stepped up to take spots on one of the many City’s boards and commissions: Audrey C. Brunner, Evan J. O’Connell, Shane M. Conley, Atlanta R. Taylor-Campagna, Isaac D. Castillo, Analise A. Granados, Eilean V. McFadden, Mahdi Hossaini, Fernando M. Barrios, Isis I. Lopez, Fermin C. Gonzales and Jae Lihua R. Salazar were assigned to the Youth Advisory Council; Mary Moskal and Heather Brewer made a commitment to the Library Advisory Board; Lisa Huval was appointed to the Affordable Housing Committee; John Carey has been chosen for the Accountability in Government Oversight Committee; Meghan E. Ferguson Mraz was re-appointed to the Arts Board; Ryan Centerwall went to the Albuquerque Energy Council; Margaret A. (Peg) Cronin and Juli Hendren are now members of the Arts Board; Maria Griego-Raby is now on the Albuquerque Museum Board of Trustees; Dr. Alan B. Reed was appointed to the Open Space Advisory Board; Rene C. Fernandez now serves on the Para Transit Advisory Board; Robert J. Bacon and Kirstin L. McGrath are now members of the Balloon Museum Board of Trustees; Kimberly M. Pruett and Chelsea C. White joined the EMS Medical Control Board; Kelly J. Garvin and Jason P. Hackett were appointed and reappointed, respectively, to the EMS Providers Advisory Committee; Enrique J. Cardiel is now a member of the Indicators Progress Commission and Jacqueline H. Smith now serves on the Para Transit Advisory Board.

Quick Hits

In other business, the Council approved a loan agreement with the
New Mexico Finance Authority for about $2.74 million to fund some Fire Department projects and a Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) project with Advanced Network Management Inc. It also approved the mayor’s appointment of Katy Duhigg as City Clerk.

The council deferred the reappointment of Edward Harness as the Executive Director of Civilian Police Oversight Agency for 90 days while the agency, the council and the public figure out the parameters of policies related to the acceptable use of force. The oversight board held a special meeting last week to gain public input on the proposed use-of-force policy before they debate it at their Sept. 13 regular meeting. To weigh in or to check out the proposed use of force policy, log on to:

Thank You, Citizens

The council also honored some city employees for their above and beyond service, not only to their jobs, but to the community. Those honored in person include: Gregory Mondragon, Angelo Lucero, Erika Anaya, Jessica Benevidez, Rebecca Stansifer and Donna White.

Send your comments about the City Council to

The next meeting of

The Albuquerque City Council

Wednesday, Sept. 5, 5pm

Vincent E. Griego Chambers, Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Government Center

1 Civic Plaza NW

View it on GOV TV 16 or at

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