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Historic Route 66 Sign Restoration Program is a “Sign” of a Comeback

Property owners along Route 66 encouraged to apply for restoration funding from City Department of Arts & Culture and Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency Partnership.
August 07, 2023

Today, Mayor Tim Keller and City leaders announced that the Department of Arts & Culture (DAC) has partnered with the Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency (MRA) to invest $432,000 into a Route 66 sign improvement program along Central Avenue, historic Route 66, in Albuquerque. Titled Revamp Route 66: Sign Improvement Grant Program, the funding comes in part from set-aside support from Albuquerque City Councilor Klarissa Peña as enacted by Resolution R-22-53

The Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency will distribute the monies to property owners/businesses along Central Avenue who have a historic sign they would like to improve. Improvements can take signs back to their original designs or re-imagine signs as new pieces of architecture or artwork. Grants exceeding $100,000 may be proposed, but those under that threshold will be prioritized in this first round of distribution.

“Restoring the visual culture along our city’s own iconic stretch of Route 66 is not just preserving our unique history, it’s magnifying our status as a tourist destination,” said Mayor Keller. “This type of public/private investment in revitalization is a great example of how, working together, we are continuing to bring the promise of Albuquerque to fruition.” 

Signs will be evaluated by a team of City staff, public art, DAC, and MRA employees, and community experts. Criteria for the awards will be based on historic significance, ability to improve the streetscape, positive impact on economic vitality, and the capability to complete by November 2025.

Revamp Route 66: Sign Improvement Grant Program applications will be accepted from August 7 through October 15, 2023. Applications can be found at Applicants will be asked to submit an application, image of their sign, budget, and work proposal. While MRA will distribute the monies with DAC support, each property owner must be able to execute their own work contracts and labor negotiations for the work on their signs. Monies can be used for supplies, labor, design, art services, electricity, or other work or services that would improve the sign.

“Central Avenue is Albuquerque’s most significant stretch of historic Route 66 and an important part of our city’s heritage,” explained Councilor Peña. “As we approach its centennial celebration in 2026, it is imperative that we continue to bolster energy, economic impact, activation, and tourism along this road of historical significance.”