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EDo News & Views
November 26, 2008
In This Issue
Event Center Update
Rail Runner Update
Library Renovations
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Is A New Event Center Coming to EDo?
Event Center For several years Mayor Martin Chavez along with local civic and business leaders have been pushing for an event center and hotel complex in the Downtown area and it appears the project is gaining momentum.
   The City, along with Hunt Development, the creators of ABQ Uptown, is promoting the new enterprise, to be located across the street from the Lofts at Albuquerque High.
  The project plans include a 550-room, nationally branded hotel with approximately 35,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and a 12,000 seat event center. It would be constructed on the 10-acre Baptist Church property at the northwest corner of Central and Broadway. Additionally, the plan includes a restaurant, retail spaces, residential apartments and condominiums.
   According to the project's website, "... proximity to and connectivity between the Albuquerque Convention Center, the Rail Runner, the Albuquerque International Sunport, and Alvarado Station make it the ideal location."
   Since the project will require public financing, Downtown City Councilors Ike Benton and Debbie O'Malley have suggested a special "mail-in ballot" election would give Albuquerque voters the ultimate decision-making authority.
   "I think we will decide all of this sometime in January, after the holiday season," said Councilor Benton, adding, "The cost could actually come down with competitive construction prices. Trends in the bidding, even material costs, are coming down. It's the perfect time to be doing this. The economic analysis shows a huge boost to the city in the first three years, right when it needs it."
   For more information, visit
Rail Runner Update
Rail Runner ULPublic transportation received a vote of confidence this month when residents of seven counties approved a 1/8 percent sales tax dedicated to the operation of Rail Runner Express and commuter buses.
    According to, the seven counties will comprise two new taxing districts, covered by Rail Runner's northern expansion.  One covers Bernalillo, Sandoval and Valencia counties, the other Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Rio Arriba and Taos counties. "The sales tax will generate more than $34 million in the first year with more expected in later years, " reported KRQE. "Half of that will go to the Rail Runner while the other half purchases buses in those counties to get people to the trains." 
    Finally, the Rail Runner Express is on schedule to connect to Santa Fe in the coming weeks. An exact date hasn't been announced yet, but transportation director Chris Blewitt confirmed yesterday the schedules currently posted online at are reliable.
Historic Collections Library Renovations Planned
LibraryPlanning is underway for renovation of the Special Collections Library at 423 Central NE next year, with around $1.2 million to be spent on upgrading the Botts Hall auditorium and other improvements.           
    Built in 1925, the library, a beautiful monument to Pueblo-Spanish revival architecture, currently features the exhibit Art, Politics and Public Works: The New Deal in New Mexico--an educational memorial to role of the Works Progress Administration in New Mexico (the federal jobs program during the Great Depression). It's Joe Sabatini's last show, as he'll be retiring as Branch Manager on Dec. 6.
   Happy retirement Joe and wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving!