A public comment meeting is scheduled for May 15

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FARMINGTON — The city of Aztec is one step closer to implementing a plan to revitalize its downtown area.

A draft Metropolitan Redevelopment Area plan can be viewed on the city’s website, aztecnm.gov.

"It's future guidance for what the downtown could look like," Community Development Director Steven Saavedra said Monday when reached by phone.

The plan may change before the city commission approves it.

The document includes renderings of buildings and potential changes to streets.

"I think it's a great overall outlook on what our downtown could be," Saavedra said.

Aztec residents and other people who are interested in the downtown can provide input during a meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, at Aztec City Hall, 201 W. Chaco St.

The city contracted with Consensus Planning, a planning and urban design firm based out of Albuquerque, to develop the Metropolitan Redevelopment Area plan.

Consensus Planning and the city hosted community input meetings in January and sent out surveys to business owners and the general public.

Saavedra said the draft plan not only shows what could be done to revitalize the downtown, it also provides information on funding the projects.

"We have great ideas, but it always comes down to funds available," he said.

Highlights of the draft MRA plan

Jackie Fishman, principal for Consensus Planning, said her firm has identified a series of projects that include redevelopment, public sector investments and support actions.

The draft plan highlights the historic Aztec Theater as a building that should be a focal point. It calls for restoring historic building's marquee.

Another building that is identified is the former Ramsey Realty building on the corner of Chaco Street and Main Avenue.

"It's a vacant building, but in a very prominent location," Fishman said.

The old gas station on the south end of Main Avenue is also identified as a potential site for a new restaurant.

"It's a piece of property ripe for redevelopment," Fishman said.

It also identifies the American Hotel at 300 S. Main Ave., which was used as Miss Gail’s Inn, as a potential site for a bed and breakfast or a boutique motel.

The plan also details strategies for slowing traffic in downtown, including reducing the number of lanes and adding bike lanes. One option includes a landscaped median and the other option is a striped median. Both options include turn lanes.

In addition to bike lanes, the plan calls for the city to install bike racks downtown.

The plaza near Rubia's restaurant was also identified as a project.

"It needs some rehabilitation and some TLC to turn it into a more inviting and interactive place for people to be in," Fishman said.

She said the draft plan calls for connecting the plaza with the HUB, or business incubator, on Chuska Street.

"It just expands opportunities that you have in those two spaces," she said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.
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