Posted at: 09/04/2013 10:13 PM
Updated at: 09/05/2013 8:12 AM
By: Ryan Luby, KOB Eyewitness News 4
ALBUQUERQUE -- More than 200 people gave city leaders an earful over the latest plans to improve the bosque.
The city hosted the first of two public meetings Wednesday night about redeveloping the bosque between Central Avenue and the I-40 bridge.
Critics questioned if the city is actually listening to them.
"It seems that this is sort of set in stone," Rachel Lewis said. "If we're going to spend money in the bosque, I think the money should be spent to preserve what's already there."
Parks and Recreation Director Barbara Baca said the city has paid attention to public opinion. She said some initial proposals have already been thrown out, like the installation of observation towers.
"Take a look at that, and see that we have already taken a step back. We're listening to the public," Baca said.
She said the city still wants to build a consolidated path through the bosque that would be more inviting to bicyclists, pedestrians, horse owners – everyone. And she said the city will still continue to remove dead trees and replant new trees.
Plans to improve the bosque are a must, she said.
"If we did nothing, we'd have problems down there. So, we don't see it as an option of doing nothing down there," Baca said.
Still, most critics argued that the bosque should be left alone. Many of them who spoke up at the meeting said that they do not support a new trail.
"It creates an environment that is not the bosque that the community really appreciates," Thane Padilla of a group called the River Writers said.
Supporters and critics of the redevelopment plans can voice their opinions at another public meeting on September 18, at 6 p.m. at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History.
The city's current plans call for construction on the bosque to begin late next year.