Albuquerque city officials on Wednesday morning celebrated the purchase of land on Route 66 west of the city for a Route 66 visitors center.
The Albuquerque Journal reported the $3.4 million facility will funded by the city, state and county, and a series of community meetings will help decide the visitors center’s design.
City Councilor Klarissa Peña and other local officials on Wednesday celebrated the purchase of the property. The first phase of construction could be done in a year — though whether $3.4 million is enough to finish the project will depend on how extensive the ultimate plans are, she said.
For 20 years, Peña said, community members have talked about the possibility of a car museum, an event center or amphitheater, and a restaurant on the West Side to celebrate Albuquerque’s presence along Route 66, which is now known as Central Avenue. […]
County Commissioner Art De La Cruz said the project is now a “blank canvass” that will be shaped by what the public wants.
One could argue a better site would have been on the east edge of the city, since about 60 percent of Route 66 travelers are going west, according to the Route 66 Economic Impact Study.
However, there’s no denying the view from Route 66 on Nine Mile Hill gives spectacular views of Albuquerque and the nearby Sandia Mountains. Nine Mile Hill rises hundreds of feet in elevation from the city’s center, and generations of travelers have enjoyed the view from there — especially at night.
If done well, the Route 66 Visitors Center probably will prove popular to tourists, regardless.