Sitting astride the Animas River its nearly 6,700 residents can find winter views of Rocky Mountain snow that fills the river in summer and the lush farmland that feeds off it.

Inside the city limits is a national monument where visitors can explore structures where ancient Puebloan people lived and worshipped.

And Main Street oozes small-town charm with some excellent restaurants, a period theater that beckons with a neon glow and a legacy hardware store.

We think more people should enjoy Aztec and we support a proposed project that recently hit a rough spot in the road.

Construction on the North Pedestrian Bridge is set to being in September, but city commissioners balked on approving a bid earlier this week when they saw the price tag. Coming in at nearly $200,000 with unspecified costs that could boost it to a quarter million dollars, commissioners decided to try to strike a better deal.

We understand the need to be careful with taxpayer money, particularly in these economic times. And we think commissioners are showing fiscal responsibility as they try to find the most cost-effective approach for this project.

The town -- as does any municipality in the United States -- has significant structural and service-related issues that must be priorities.

Although quality-of-life issues can seem trivial in light of those more tangible needs, they also can have a long-term impact on a town's reputation.

We think plans for Aztec centered on the North Pedestrian Bridge have the potential to elevate this northwest New Mexico town's brand beyond state lines.

The bridge would cross the Animas River connecting the historic downtown with the Aztec Ruins.

That would pull together three of the city's defining elements -- river, downtown and ruins -- creating a unique experience. We believe this creates a synergy that could significantly elevate Aztec's reputation as a wonderful place to live and visit.

Adding value are plans made in conjunction with the Aztec Trails and Open Space outdoor awareness group to create a network of trails connecting various destinations, trails and walkways throughout the city. The walking and biking opportunities will be irresistible.

All of the preparatory work has been done for the project, including a biological assessment, a cultural resources report and a wetlands report. And hundreds of thousands of dollars have been committed, including state, federal and city money.

We hope commissioners, who have expressed a strong desire to finish the project, find a way to make this work within the city's budget.

City leaders have said the project is aimed at getting people out of their cars.

We think getting out of your car is a great idea and we highly recommend the features, both natural and manmade, that Aztec has to offer.