Councilor proposes business incentive
Updated: Sunday, 28 Feb 2010, 10:44 PM MST
Published : Sunday, 28 Feb 2010, 10:44 PM MST
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - One city councilor says a proposal to waive impact fees for businesses could be the ticket to rebuilding a section of southeast Albuquerque plagued by crime that was once called the war zone.
The reputation has chased some businesses out neighborhoods and left entire shopping malls deserted for years.
The shopping center sits on the edge of the International District, once called the war zone.
The Parkland Shopping Center covers two whole blocks on San Mateo near Kathryn. All 12 stores are empty. Nearby business owners call it an eye soar but City Councilor Rey Garduno calls it a magnet for crime.
“A long, long time ago there was a grocery store that turned into an indoor flea market,” Councilor Garduno said. “There was a deterioration of businesses here because of the bad reputation.”
Come Monday, Garduno will introduce a proposal to councilors that will offer businesses major incentives to forget about the crime and build out there.
“Impact fees will certainly be waved,” Councilor Garduno said.
The impact fees help pay for infrastructure. Councilor Garduno estimates the city could end up covering a tab well over $200,000.
The manager of one store in the area said it might be worth it.
“We get very little walk by traffic, a couple neighborhood people but that is very minimal,” AOH Garden Supply Manager Clifford Grindstaff said.
Grindstaff said more stable businesses would attract more shoppers.
Councilor Garduno also hopes new businesses will deter crime.
“Criminals don't like to be in the midst of activity,” Councilor Garduno said.
However, when day turns to night the international district becomes a magnet for crime. Police are called out for drug busts, prostitution and theft.
In January, police said someone left a man to die in a dumpster right in the heart of the district.
The proposal to wave the impact fees also includes residential construction.
This is just the latest move from councilors to decrease crime in southeast Albuquerque. They already changed the name of the area and there are talks about adding more lighting to streets.