After about eight years of effort that was dotted by a few stops and starts, Albuquerque’s Downtown Arts and Cultural District has received official designation.
Late Wednesday night the Albuquerque City Council voted unanimously to adopt the district’s cultural plan. Supporters say the designation could allow owners of historic properties in the district’s boundaries to double the value of their historic tax credits and provide them with priority access to state economic development capital outlay and state MainStreet and other funds. The district’s boundaries stretch roughly from 10th Street to Broadway Boulevard and from Coal Avenue to Lomas Boulevard.
The City Council fast-tracked the approval of the new district in order to assist businesses in the area that were applying for time-sensitive grants that require a local cultural plan.
One business owner who stands to benefit from the new district is Dennis Gromelski, executive director of FUSION Theatre Co., housed in The Cell Theatre at 700 First St. NW in Downtown’s Warehouse District. Gromelski, who was chair of the DACD steering committee for three years, spoke in support of the plan Wednesday night saying it goes “straight to the economic development of the Downtown core through the arts.”
“Our organization, through our growth Downtown, is going through its first capital campaign which will vastly extend our ability to serve other arts organizations and the general public,” he said.
The steering committee can now lobby for the $50,000 needed to draft a master plan for the district, and then issue a request for proposals (RFP) for a planner to complete the district’s design. Once the master plan is complete, organizers can seek capital outlay funds, potentially up to $5 million from the Legislature to implement the district’s long-term goals.
The push for the DACD has been in the works since 2008, when an effort to draft the plan and apply for recognition from the state’s MainStreet program was launched by the Downtown Action Team. The proposal encountered challenges from the start. Requiring a municipal partner, it was originally hosted by the city’s Cultural Affairs department, but after the state returned the 2013 plan for revisions, the Economic Development Department took over.
By: Blake Driver (Albuquerque Business First)
Click here to view source article.