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Mayor proposes $7M to develop San Mateo/Kathryn site

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

A vacant lot in Southeast Albuquerque could soon be home to first responders trained to handle calls related to homelessness and behavioral health under a new plan floated Thursday.

Mayor Tim Keller said a nearly $140 million infrastructure spending plan he is sending to City Council includes a $7 million investment for the property at Kathryn and San Mateo. He said it could help create a “multi-use public safety complex,” including headquarters for the forthcoming Albuquerque Community Safety Department. ACS is meant to supplement the city’s 911 response, providing a third option outside of police officers and firefighter/paramedics.

The department is still in the development stage, but Keller said the southeast property – previously home to a dilapidated strip mall – could make a good home.

“It’s just an idea at this point, but we certainly think it’s a nice fit,” he said Thursday during a news conference at the site.

Councilor Pat Davis, the area’s representative, said the city had previously planned an Albuquerque Police Department substation for the land, but the vision has evolved, as has the city’s take on public safety. He said the city intends to use neighborhood input as it finalizes direction.

The city “is investing in resiliency and recovery for our neighborhoods and our communities long term,” he said.

The infrastructure investment plan Keller introduced Thursday is still in the early stages and ultimately requires voter approval. City Council has the authority to amend it before voters see it in November in the form of general obligation (GO) bond questions.

Complete details of Keller’s plan were not released publicly Thursday, but the mayor said public safety investments also include $9 million to finish APD’s Southeast Area Command, money for a new fire station in the area of Central and Juan Tabo, and new police cruisers.

Other major proposed investments include $6 million for the Cibola Loop Multigenerational Center, $3.5 million for the Westside Community Center and $3.5 million to expand McMahon Boulevard.

Keller included $3.3 million for affordable housing, essentially dismissing a recommendation from the city’s Environmental Planning Commission to increase the amount. Advocates had also pushed for more funding, as $3.3 million would be the lowest amount devoted to affordable housing in a city GO bond package since 2013.

Keller noted that the city helped fund three affordable housing projects that came online last year and had also received $2.5 million from the state Legislature for such developments.

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