A long-planned project to build a visitors center celebrating the legacy of historic Route 66 is another step closer to reality with an additional $750,000 in funding.
That money is coming out of the $38 million general obligation bond overwhelmingly approved this month by Bernalillo County voters.
A primary advocate for the Route 66 project is the Southwest Alliance of Neighbors in Albuquerque, which has been talking about the historic importance of the state road.
As planned, a Route 66 Visitors Center will go up on what is known as Nine Mile Hill, on the west side of Albuquerque, and will celebrate the existence of the interconnecting state roads that made Albuquerque more accessible to the rest of the world beginning in the late 1920s.
The project will see the construction of a museum, amphitheater, and taproom. An outdoor neon sign graveyard will remind visitors of the thousands of neon signs and billboards that made any journey on Route 66 such a unique visual experience.
It is currently expected that the final price tag for the project could be as much as $8.2 million, more than double the amount earlier projected.
So far, roughly $4.5 million in a combination of state, city, and county funds have been secured for the project.
If final funding is committed in subsequent months, it is thought that construction will begin next October.
By Garry Boulard
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