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Justin Schatz is The Paper's daily news reporter. He has reported on New Mexico for KRQE News, Searchlight NM and the Santa Fe Reporter.

Downtown Albuquerque will now have a police substation as part of the city’s revitalization effort. The predominant focus for the city’s revitalization plan is public safety, which has long been a concern for Downtown residents and business owners. 

“With this plan, we’re making tangible changes that will create a safer and more secure Downtown core,” Mayor Tim Keller said. “Safety is a top priority as we recover from the pandemic, and we’re working to transform buildings and add amenities and entertainment that will benefit residents and tourists alike.”

The most recent fatal shooting Downtown was on July 10, when one person was shot and killed and another wounded in the early morning hours. A police officer who was driving through the area at the same time of the shooting was slightly injured, apparently by glass fragments when a bullet hit his vehicle’s windshield, police said.

According to CrimeMapping, an interactive online database that maps crime throughout metropolitan areas, Downtown Albuquerque had over 300 calls to APD from the Downtown area from July 20 to July 26.

The substation will be located in the Rosenwald Building on Central Ave. and 4th St. The city will partner with the Garcia family, which also owns a portion of the building, to renovate the historic structure and convert part of the building to a police substation. The Downtown patrol unit, bike officers and the Proactive Response Team will operate from the new substation. 

“I think this is a good thing that the public can see a definite change and investment in Downtown that can make everyone feel safe and be something that everyone can be proud of,” said Carlos Garcia, who represented the Garcia Family.

“Moving to a central location where we can continue to build strong relationships with the businesses and residents Downtown is paramount to our commitment to community policing,” APD officer Hence Williams said.

The city has also dedicated $1 million in lighting upgrades to address safety throughout the Downtown area. Another $72 thousand has been invested in festoon lighting as well. A cornerstone of the revitalization project is centered on the Rail Yards. In last week’s announcement, Keller reaffirmed the city’s commitment to connecting the Edo District with Downtown through the Rail Trail Sky Bridge, which is still in its design phase. The Rail Trail Sky Bridge is part of the larger one-mile Rail Trail project to connect the different areas of Downtown. The trail will connect the Rail Yards to the Convention Center, Transit Station and Glorietta Station.

In his announcement Keller also highlighted the city’s effort to maintain affordable housing Downtown. Mayor Keller noted that affordable housing has become a rare quality for many cities in the Southwest and that Albuquerque is still one of the few major metropolitan areas in the region where downtown housing is affordable. Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency has invested in more than 430 affordable housing units in the Downtown area. 

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