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Mayor Keller’s 2022 State of the City: Leading Albuquerque to its Brighter Horizon, Creating a Path toward a Safer City for Everyone

Celebration features City and community leaders, lays out response to public safety and homelessness challenges, outlines economic development initiatives and downtown plan

June 25, 2022

Mayor Tim Keller delivered his regular State of the City address today to nearly 1,000 people at a community event hosted at the Albuquerque Rail Yards. The gathering brought people together to explore City and community efforts on a range of fronts including public safety, programs for youth and families, downtown revitalization, housing and homelessness solutions, equity and inclusion, economic development, and sustainability.

In his remarks, Mayor Keller reflected on Albuquerque’s response to deep challenges and spoke of doubling down on work to move the city toward a brighter horizon:

“The real state of the city is a city holding the line, during some of our most difficult times. A city that has not, and will not, stop advancing toward a horizon that brings out the best in Burque. On our horizon is a city that is growing, and that has more opportunities for our children each year, a city that is safe, and sustainable. We’ve got that unmistakable Albuquerque scrappiness that comes out when it’s needed – we get creative and we figure things out, and I know we can bring the horizon right here to the Duke City.”

View the 2022 State of the City address.

Mayor Keller acknowledged the shadow that crime casts over Albuquerque, and focused on key changes the City is pursuing for a safer city for all. The first is the City-led Metro Crime Initiative, which convenes leaders from all levels of government, the criminal justice system, and the community to break down silos and fix broken pieces at levels of the system that have hindered public safety. The second is the decision to take new agency in the DOJ Reform process. Mayor Keller announced that because of recent progress, with the latest monitor report nearing full compliance, the administration reached an agreement with the DOJ to suspend monitoring for a quarter of the settlement agreement. This step allows officers to work toward remaining reform goals while being better able to focus on addressing crime.

To help with limited police and fire resources, the Albuquerque Community Safety Department is now taking calls and responding to non-violent situations throughout the city, many of which are related to the city’s ongoing challenge with homelessness. Homelessness has grown nationally by 30% in recent years and requires local answers that provide a compassionate, effective response. Mayor Keller noted that the City legally clears dozens of encampments each week, and that the City will hold the line and enforce laws when there are real safety issues, and at places our kids use, like community centers, pools and parks with programing. The City also must create places where people can go, so they don’t just move down the road. This includes converting old hotels into apartments and continuing the historic investments in affordable housing.

“We have an obligation to extend compassion to people in our community who need help finding their way out of dark places. We have to do better than leaving people on the streets or in a dangerous park. We will enforce our laws when there is a real safety issue, and when it affects spaces our kids use. We will hold the line and promptly clear encampments in those situations, and we will also create places for people to go. There isn’t one simple answer, this requires an ‘all of the above’ approach, and we have to be open trying new approaches that create pathways to stability. Give us approval to clear Coronado park and a create a place for folks to go. Give us zoning approval for the Gateway Center and every idea in between.”

While focused on building bridges out of homelessness, the City is making sure that there are opportunities on the other side. With masthead companies in the metro announcing expansions, and Small and Minority Business Offices supporting local entrepreneurs, Albuquerque is experiencing and poised to continue sustainable economic growth. New innovators are looking to make Albuquerque home, with potential transformative investments like the Space Valley Center and Universal Hydrogen. With an eye toward the future, the City is creating pipelines for future generations into skilled positions with the coming roll out of Albuquerque’s Youth Workforce Investment Program. Along with investments in opportunities for youth and families, the City is pursuing bold sustainability goals to keep Albuquerque welcoming for generations to come.

This past year, in partnership with Jicarilla Apache Nation, Repsol, and PNM, the City opened the third largest solar array on Native American land across 500 acres. With this and 38 other solar projects on City buildings, 88 percent of Albuquerque’s government is powered by clean energy.

“This could be the most important legacy we leave for our children: the action we take to confront the realities of climate change. The work ahead of us is urgent, and we are not waiting for anyone else to lead the way.”

Moving Albuquerque closer to its bright horizon requires doubling down on priorities and investing in a strong core that powers a healthy city. The City has created a working roadmap to a vibrant downtown that honors history and guides the city forward. To kickstart collaboration that will make downtown a safer place, the City rolled out Downtown TEAM (Targeted Enforcement and Active Monitoring), a public private partnership that will add police presence to support businesses downtown. Further developments, like the Rail Trail, aim to connect historic neighborhoods and create a safe, pleasant way to travel along the train tracks between downtown amenities.

In closing, Mayor Keller encouraged people to get involved in the effort to help Albuquerque reach the horizon ahead.

“Every accomplishment we’ve made, every challenge we work to overcome, it takes a team. As we part today, we know we are coming from the depths of the pandemic, we are dusting ourselves off and lifting our heads up to look toward our city’s horizon again. We’re asking you to put your talents to work for the city you love, and visit ChooseOne.us to see where the City is hiring. We will be right there with you as we work together to bring Albuquerque to the bright horizon that we know is ahead,” said Mayor Tim Keller.

As has been his tradition, the Mayor incorporated some deep cuts from his unique music tastes into the speech. This year featured ‘Dance of the Ixtab’ by Carcass and ‘Permanent’ by Knocked Loose.