Creating a Successful, Vital and Sustainable Business District in the VillageI am happy to say that we had our first meeting to discuss the potential of creating a distinct business district for Los Ranchos. Our meeting was very well attended and, after the initial anxieties created by a lawsuit over 10 years ago, it was evident that our businesses and residents were excited about the possibilities. There was a willingness and eagerness to discuss creative ideas.
Discussions of Fourth Street in the past have been defined very narrowly by the number of lanes and the speeds of the cars. Although the numbers of lanes are important, it is more important to visualize how we want our business district to look.
I think it is important to start with a clean and list all the qualities that are important in creating a successful, vital and sustainable business district.
These qualities include being pedestrian and bicycle friendly, good signage and visibility, additional parking, slowing traffic down, safe turning on and off side streets, accessing each business, landscaping, street lighting and cost. We are all, businesses and individuals alike, facing some challenging economic times. One train of thought is to wait for the economy to get better. My thoughts are to take advantage of the metro areas’ lack of vitality, and create some excitement that would attract customers from all over the metro area.
All one has to do is drive up and down Lomas or Menaul or any of the major streets in Albuquerque. There is a noticeable lack of vibrancy throughout most of the metro area. If we can create a distinct destination, we can funnel a portion of the metro areas business to Los Ranchos. Just as there is a perceived value in the name "Los Ranchos," we must translate that into a perceived value in our business district.
As I have said on many occasions, we have a great selection of businesses that need more exposure, exposure produced by a distinct business district.
Over the next six months, we will be having several meetings and presentations on the Fourth Street corridor. Once we have all the design elements incorporated, we will back into a plan for the road. We will be limited by the width of our right away, the number of driveways and side streets and, of course, lastly by cost. To start this project, our Trustees have set aside $1 million from our reserve and we have requested a $1 million matching capital outlay from the State of New Mexico.
As you may remember, last year we had unanimous support from our four legislators and, at the last minute, Gov. Martinez vetoed our $400,000 capital outlay request. We are also looking at other areas of funding, as well as considering the project in phases, if possible. I look forward to the efforts of all the creative minds in our Village to help our Village businesses evolve into a more sustainable shopping destination.
Turning my attention to the agricultural side of our Village, I am very concerned about the water outlook, especially in our ditch systems. The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District has issued several warnings that there is an insufficient amount of water stored upstream, and there is a distinct possibility that some ditches may have to be shut down as early as June. I would caution everyone to monitor the situation at MRGCD before planting certain crops. We will try to keep everyone informed through our website and social media.
Lastly, I would like to remind everyone about a reoccurring problem I see. While our Village is very safe, situations do occur for which one of our residents needs to call 911 or the Sheriff’s Office. Please, if you call 911 from a cell phone, the first thing you should tell the operator is that you live in Los Ranchos. They will immediate send the call to Bernalillo County dispatch. You can also call direct to Bernco dispatch by dialing 798-7000. If you are on a landline, the 911 operator already knows where you are located; however, it is still advisable to mention you live in Los Ranchos. We encourage everyone to immediately call 798-7000 if you are unsure of a situation or you need to report a crime or a suspicious person; for emergencies, call 911.
- Larry P. Abraham, Mayor