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Downtown Neighborhoods Association
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Annual Meeting
March 1, 2017

The March 2017 annual meeting of the Downtown Neighborhoods Association was held at Hotel Blue, pursuant to prior approval.

 

Board Chair Reba Eagles called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. All thirteen current board members attended: Chan Graham, Alice Bergman, Reba Eagles, David McCain, Noelle Baroody, Holly Siebert, Israel Chavez, Margaret Connealy, Ric Higginbotham, Gabe Campos, Rowan Wymark, Dick Deichsel and Rick Miera. Sixty-four other neighbors and guest speakers also attended. Sign in sheets are on file.

 

The agenda was approved. The February 1 minutes were approved.

 

Dick Deichsel gave the Treasurer’s Report. For the month of February, there was $45.00 in income. Expenses totaled $734.63, including $682.35 for printing and mailing the newsletter. The February 28 balance was $24,372.80. The Treasurer’s Report was approved and is on file.

 

ALBUQUERQUE RAPID TRANSIT (ART)

This presentation was given by ART public relations spokesperson Katherine Cordova (379-7472, kcordova@cabq.gov) and city planner Lawrence Kline (724-3130, lkline@cabq.gov). Ms. Cordova said the project is 22% complete and scheduled to be finished by the end of 2017. The construction has been delayed by the discovery of unexpected water lines and a major gas line that supplies natural gas to all of northern New Mexico(!). The ART station at Coors and Central is done. She also described the pattern of construction sites, landscaping and the planned nine miles of ADA-compliant sidewalks on Central Avenue.

Minerva Camp said that some children are concerned that trees have been cut down for the project and suggested that ART staff should send a memo to schools describing the planned replanting.

Lawrence Kline described the land use planning aspect of ART. There will be a series of meetings and seminars beginning on March 6, including a neighborhood meeting at Hotel Blue on March 8. The DNA website (abqdna.com) has a schedule of the events. There were a number of questions involving the construction schedule and traffic congestion on Central.

 

CITY COUNCIL REPORT

            Councilor Ike Benton (768-3186, ibenton@cabq.gov) discussed homelessness, mental health initiatives and affordable housing. He advocates measures to decentralize facilities for the homeless and the behavioral health initiatives designed to treat mentally ill homeless people rather than incarcerate them. Affordable housing needs to be addressed in light of data that show that rents in Albuquerque are high compared to average incomes locally. There was a discussion on both sides of the issue of feeding programs in Robinson Park (8th and Central). Benton advocates a shuttle to allow homeless people to travel to the various social service organizations.

 

Rowan Wymark (rowymark@gmail.com) described the work of the Community Policing Council. She highlighted the CPC’s work with the Department of Justice oversight representative, the reinstitution of bicycle patrols and the availability of private patrols for small areas. Armed Response teams cost around $52 per month per household.

 

BOARD ELECTION

            Rowan Wymark announced that there are currently four openings on the DNA board. As chair of the nominating committee, she nominated Asra Ahmad, Minerva Camp, Daniel Gutierrez and Brandon Roach. Each nominee briefly described their interest in joining the board. The four nominees were approved by acclamation.

 

COMMITTEES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

            Rick Miera described the 1/8-cent sales tax for behavioral health initiatives, which has generated approximately twenty million dollars in the past year. Rick serves on a committee studying proposed uses for these funds. The committee is committed to finding new ideas for the use of the funds, such as mobile crisis teams (instead of law enforcement) to intervene in situations when appropriate. The committee is also studying a 24/7 short-term facility for just-released prisoners, instead of the current practice of dropping them off in the vicinity of 4th and Roma.

 

Holly Siebert described the 50% state income tax credit available for pre-approved rehabilitation projects to contributing structures in historic districts, such as the historic overlay zones in DNA. There are several sources of additional information: www.nmhistoricpreservation.org, or (505) 827-6320. Harvey Kaplan administers the program in Santa Fe (505-827-3971, harvey.kaplan@state.nm.us).

 

Margaret Connealy presented Chan Graham with the first DNA “Chan Graham Above and Beyond Award” in recognition of his book on DNA historic architecture, the two tree-planting projects and his successful grant writing efforts.

 

Chan asked the meeting to let him know if there are any unfulfilled applications for trees. (242-4354, chan@centurylink.net). He also announced that DNA might consider pursuing a grant to install or repair sidewalks in the neighborhood.

 

Holly Siebert described the completed renovations to Mary Fox Park (14th and Roma), a project that DNA successfully promoted. The $196,000 project was funded half by the city and half by the state.

 

Ric Higginbotham gave attendance figures and described the 2016 Mothers Day historic homes tour. He discussed some of the neighborhood projects that were funded by proceeds from the 2016 tour.  The tour is held every two years in May of even-numbered years. Ric solicited suggestions for homes or other DNA buildings to be included in the 2018 tour.

 

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN

Brian Reilly is a consultant for the City of Albuquerque and a DNA resident. (216-659-6287, brianreilly14@gmail.com) He announced that the City Council would consider the proposed revisions to the city’s comprehensive plan on Monday, March 6. He supports the plan. He said that if the comprehensive plan is not passed, the Integrated Development Ordinance cannot be considered.

Ric Higginbotham endorsed the clarity of the proposed plan. Gabe Campos said that there is significant opposition to the plan from Martineztown and other traditional neighborhoods, who argue that the plan will make it easier for developers to pursue projects that are not consistent with the historic character of their areas.

Alice Bergman moved and Israel Chavez seconded a motion for the board to consider the plan over the next few days, and vote by email on a letter of support to the Council prior to the March 6 meeting. The motion passed.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

David McCain

Secretary