Monday, October 17, 2005

El Vado Motel: The Mayor Has Reservations

WEST CENTRAL--This afternoon's ABQ Tribune is running a story by Maggie Shepard that Mayor Martin Chavez is saying that he will not allow the historic El Vado Motel to be torn down. This story is not posted on their website as of this afternoon. "I am not going to be a party to detroying historic Albuquerque," he said. He is looking to work with the new owner Richard Gonzales, a personal aquaintance of the mayor, to turn the motel into a profitable operation. He even states he will go so far as using "eminent domain" if all else fails and have the city take over the property.

YES!!!! The Mayor got this one exactly right. This motel is in the heart of what has become a main tourist area: the biopark complex. And it is a completely different situation than tearing down the Royal Court and American motels on East Central. They were offensive huge multi-story buildings that detracted from their neighborhoods even when new. "Boutique" motels such as El Vado are small mom & pop facilities that go back to the first days of Route 66. Their scale is neighborhood size, and their ornamentation was designed to awe the traveler with an opportunity to spend a night in an exotic location...Albuquerque!

Mayor Chavez deserves some credit for this stand. He did not have to stick his neck out. He could have said there was nothing he could do. Maybe he hears the wreckage of the Alvarado echoing 35 years after its destruction. That could have been saved if Pete Domenici showed the same kind of resolute determination that Mayor Chavez is showing today.