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Route 66 Visitors Center Site Dedication and Design Kickoff

City Councilor Klarissa Peña and County Commissioner Art De La Cruz joined with other local and state officials on Wednesday, December 21st for a site acquisition celebration for land that has been purchased for the construction of the Route 66 Visitor’s Center on West Central.

The Route 66 Visitors Center is a community driven project led by the Southwest Alliance of Neighbors and the West Central Community Development Group who have spent the last 20 years advocating for and securing public funding from state, county, and city government.

For over twenty-five years prior to taking office in 2013, Councilor Peña and other community and business leaders along the Central Avenue corridor have taken the lead in the revitalization of West Central, part of Albuquerque’s  Historic Route 66.

Councilor Peña said “I promised to carry out the community’s vision when I became a City Councilor and the Visitor’s Center has been on one of my main priorities.  It will help stimulate private and public investment, create jobs, and bring greater prosperity to the West Side and all of Albuquerque.”

The Visitor’s Center site is located on West Central at the apex of Nine Mile Hill and will capitalize on the Historic nature of the Route 66 national scenic byway and encourage motorists to get off the interstate to visit Albuquerque’s Route 66 to learn all about Albuquerque’s heritage and all that the City has to offer.  Much of the original route lies in the county.

“The iconic Route 66 is a vital part of our history as a community,” says Commission Chair Art De La Cruz. “This visitor center will invite tourists to get their kicks on Route 66 as well as visit our city and beautiful county.

Prior to the construction of I-40, westward travelers on Route 66 were greeted with spectacular views of the middle Rio Grande Valley, the Sangre De Cristo’s, Sandia and Manzano mountains, and the City of Albuquerque.  People would park atop of Nine Mile Hill, get out of their vehicles, and take in the breath taking views.

Once the center is operational, visitors will once more travel down Central Ave and tout the fact that they drove down the longest urban stretch of the historic Mother road, enjoyed the culture, restaurants, shops, and other attractions Albuquerque has to offer.

With some updates this corridor could re-energize the city as a major Route 66 destination. It will be a catalyst to develop plans for tourism-related business and attractions along West Central and the river crossing