Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
In a State of the Metropolis handle targeted closely on Albuquerque’s relative stability within the face of COVID-19, Mayor Tim Keller stated he believes the town has the muse wanted for a powerful restoration.
Keller used the handle – his third since assuming workplace in late 2017 – to emphasize a degree he has made repeatedly in latest months: Albuquerque has weathered the pandemic higher than many communities due to efforts comparable to virus containment, sustaining companies and providing assist to households and companies.
Keller’s speech, which was prerecorded at areas across the metropolis and broadcast Sunday on KOAT-TV, lined a lot of the identical floor as his common COVID-19 briefings. He and senior-level metropolis directors touted the town’s little one care programming, in addition to the constant effort to feed seniors and discover foster houses for shelter animals regardless of the tumult of the pandemic.
“This disaster revealed the cracks within the system all throughout our nation,” he stated. “Right here in Albuquerque, it additionally revealed our strengths.”
Keller and his management staff highlighted the monetary support the town acquired through the pandemic and the monetary support it distributed. The town, which acquired $150 million in federal coronavirus aid cash final spring, deployed $10 million for a small-business grant program and created different packages particularly for eating places, microbusinesses and nonprofits. It additionally provided direct support to low-income households and immigrants who didn’t qualify for every other aid.
As he has performed a number of instances in latest months, Keller displayed a graphic displaying that Albuquerque has fared higher than different regional cities, together with El Paso, Phoenix and Oklahoma Metropolis, on COVID-19-specific metrics, comparable to virus circumstances per capita and take a look at positivity fee.
“We’re demonstrating every single day that this metropolis is particular and that we’re uniquely a more healthy place to be proper now,” he stated. “And it’s not going unnoticed; now individuals are transferring right here, and our youngsters who’ve moved away at the moment are boomeranging again house.”
Keller, who will quickly launch his reelection marketing campaign, additionally reiterated his causes for optimism in 2021 and past.
That features anticipated progress towards the town’s long-awaited Gateway Heart, which is able to present emergency shelter and companies to the rising variety of people who find themselves homeless. Keller has for years made it a precedence to create the centralized 24/7 shelter, however the mission hit a roadblock a yr in the past when the College of New Mexico stated the town couldn’t construct on its property. The town secured a unique location: the previous Lovelace hospital on Gibson, which it’s shopping for for $15 million.
“It provides location, versatility and is house to amenities that can assist meet folks’s particular wants,” he stated.
Though a latest metropolis progress report stated Albuquerque ranks final amongst six peer cities on key financial indicators, Keller stated in his speech that the town is turning into a middle for the movie and house industries.
He cited Netflix’s enlargement mission at Mesa del Sol, which the town is supporting with $7 million in grants and in-kind infrastructure, and the attainable Orion improvement. The aerospace firm is exploring a significant campus close to the Albuquerque Worldwide Sunport that representatives have stated might imply as much as 1,000 jobs, and Keller in his speech stated the corporate has simply secured native manufacturing house to “begin constructing out its staff right here.” He stated extra particulars might be forthcoming. The brand new house is about 200,000 sq. ft, based on Keller’s workplace.
Keller additionally addressed public security, largely considered the town’s No. 1 problem.
He highlighted each the town’s effort to proceed hiring extra law enforcement officials and its deliberate Neighborhood Security Division, which continues to be being fashioned. The brand new division is predicted to soak up some 911 calls – comparable to these associated to behavioral well being or deserted vehicles – that police and firefighters usually would area.
Though Keller didn’t particularly point out the town’s rising violent crime fee, he stated gun violence stays “stubbornly excessive.” He stated Albuquerque will not be immune from big-city challenges and desires a multifaceted public security strategy.
“It’s not about pretending one particular person or one mayor or one chief can clear up all our issues within the quick time period,” stated Keller, who not too long ago appointed Harold Medina as police chief after asking former Chief Mike Geier to resign final yr. “As a lot as politicians wish to faux there are straightforward solutions, this takes a lot extra. Making our metropolis safer in lasting methods requires resolve and dedication for a protracted highway.”