As Albuquerque and dozens of businesses awaited a judge’s ruling this week on a lawsuit against the Albuquerque Rapid Transit plan, the city unveiled a new website touting the Route 66 corridor and gave details about a loan program for those affected businesses.
The city launched ABQ66.com, which includes interactive listings of restaurants, retail, coffee shops, bars, entertainment, motels, gas stations, banks, apartments, beauty shops and health businesses, along with an interactive Route 66 map.
(Note: The map and listings do not include the 1926-1937 alignment of Route 66 — just the well-known Central Avenue alignment.)
I surfed the restaurant listings. It includes everything from chains such as McDonald’s and Domino’s to Route 66 classics such as Dog House and The Frontier. It appeared the website scraped a lot of content from Yelp! listings.
And, probably to many business owners’ consternation, the website links to the city’s controversial ART plan.
Also this week, the city announced a loan fund for businesses that will be adversely affected by imminent ART construction.
According to the Albuquerque Journal:
The McCune Charitable Foundation of Santa Fe has provided initial seed funding, but the foundation has a policy of not revealing specific amounts. A spokeswoman said it is less than $100,000.
The Co-op Capital Fund will be a “flexible loan instrument” that will provide a range of financial support, including forgivable loans to help businesses overcome challenges, as well as low-and zero-interest loans to improve their storefronts or make other upgrades. […]
The Co-op Capital Fund will be administered by the independent Small Business Resource Collaborative, which includes non-profit business development groups and local business advocates.
Money will be available to locally-owned businesses that have under $2 million in revenue with a front entrance on Central.
The city hopes to raise about $2 million for the fund.and launch it by fall. If a judge allows ART to go ahead, construction may begin as early as August.
The “forgivable” loans are interesting — it basically means free money, with no obligation to repay.
I suspect a bunch of businesses along Central Avenue will be line up to avail themselves of this — assuming ART happens.
(Screen shot of the ABQ66.com website; hat tip to KRQE-TV)