Where in Albuquerque can you live that is rural & agricultural in character . . .
. . . yet within the city limits?
. . . that is closely tied to the Rio Grande and its inner valley, yet minutes from downtown?
. . . where five‑acre estates are adjacent to thirty‑year old, tree‑shaded trailer parks with ten or more units per acre?
. . . where a variety of cultural groups coexist with a common bond: the desire to live in an area more closely involved with the natural environment than anywhere else in the city, while enjoying (and being willing to be taxed for) city services and urban advantages?
The answer, of course, is the Alvarado Gardens neighborhood, bounded by the Rio Grande on the west, Rio Grande Boulevard on the east, Candelaria and Veranda Roads on the north, and Campbell and Vicic Roads on the south. The area has maintained an open and agricultural character since it was settled in the 1930’s attracting residents who enjoy raising livestock, growing crops, and living in a non‑suburban setting. This neighborhood probably also contains a greater diversity of socio‑economic groups than anywhere in the city. As are many or most neighborhood plans, the one for this area is centered around the issue of maintaining the special character of the
It must be clearly stated, however, that it is not the intention of this neighborhood plan to attempt to restrict development. It is, rather, to draw to the attention of city officials, developers, and all city residents, that this neighborhood has the assets and special character described, so that new development or changes will reflect and enhance this character. We hope that most people’s vague awareness of an area between the Thomas Village Sub division and
The Alvarado Gardens Neighborhood is dominated not only visually, but functionally by its location in the inner valley of the Rio Grande Trough. Geologically speaking, the Rio Grande Trough is relatively young—only 10–20 million years old. It was not carved by the
Since Cochiti Dam wa s built in 1973, much of the river sediment is being deposited in the.reservoir, and the channel of the
The water table in the Alvarado Gardens Neighborhood presently ranges from about 5 to 20 feet below the surface, depending on factors such as distance from the river or surface water in irrigation ditches. No major change in these levels is expected to occur over the next 20 years. The depth to water table is important in this neighborhood; irrigation wells and pumps can be affected if the water table drops,and use of septic tanks is limited when the water table is shallow. Building of basements or other subsurface structures is also limited by shallow water tables. Although most residents of
The Alvarado Gardens Neighborhood area include several soil types, as can be seen on the accompanying map. In the yel low area, the soi I i s very good and has essentially no limitations for agriculture or development. In the green areas, there is a 20–36 inch layer of clay‑rich soil which is underlain by sand. This area has no limitations for agricultural uses but land leveling that should be limited because of the shallow soil layer. The blue area soils have even greater limitations than the green. The clay‑rich layer of soil overlying sand is only 11–20 inches thick. The greater amount of sand makes the soil more subject to blowing than the other soil categories; therefore, it is preferable to grow alfalfa or pasture grasses rather than row crops which dry out faster. Land leveling may create problems in this area also.
An aerial view of
It is likely that primitive mammals around 100 million years ago inhabited this area and that longhorn bison and giant ground sloth once roamed through this part of the valley. The riparian, agricultural, and populated habitats of the neighborhood now provide homes and food for an extraordinary variety of animals. The site for the Rio Grande Nature Center was chosen partly because it is a place where various habitats meet and therefore attract a diversity of native wildlife and wildfowl from the Rio Grande Flyway The settlement of the area in this century brough t in a vast number of cats, dogs, fowl, burros, sheep, cattle, horses, and an occasional goat and guinea pig. These pets and livestock share the space with the wild creatures whose patterns have become familiar to residents. Spring means the emergence of crayfish in the network of ditches. Neighbors put out feeders and plant flowers for the hummingbirds’ arrival from the tropics in April. In February and October, thousands of sandhill cranes and snow geese fly low over the area, alerting residents of their flight with raucous honks. Many splayed‑flat toads can be found under the street lights of
Although no prehistori.c sites have be.en identified here, the Center for Anthropological Studies has found possible prehistoric features in
The Yonemoto family operated a truck farm and eventually built houses for themselves and for workers at the end of
Long‑time residents were recently asked what had brought them to the neighborhood and what kept them there. Among the respondents were teachers, government officials, plumbers, and refuges from
The purpose of the survey was to determine neighborhood residents’ attitudes and opinions on varied issues and topics of concern.
During the planning process for the survey effort, the planning committee recognized that, to achieve the greatest possible response rate, it was necessary to:
After considerable review of several sample survey forms which had been successfully administered in other
While addressing a broad range of i ssues and topics the majority of questions were multiple choice. Two open ended questions and a “general comments” section were included to allow residents to raise any issue not specifically addressed in the body of the survey form.
Approximately three weeks prior to distribution of the survey proper a flyer was hand delivered to~every household in the neighborhood. The flyer advises the residents of the forthcoming survey and included a brief description of its purpose.
The cover page of the survey indicated that the completed questionnaire could be returned by mail, by dropping it off at the observatory building of the
The planning committee subdivided the Alvarado Gardens Neighborhood area in nine sub‑areas or routes. A route leader was designated for each sub‑area and charged with the responsibi.lity for distribution and follow‑up. Prior to distribution each survey form was coded by a letter for route identification and sequential number for household identification. Three weeks after distribution a second survey form was delivered to those households which had not responded. Two weeks after the second distribution the route leaders make one last attempt to contact the non‑respondents individually. A cut‑off date was established approximately eight weeks after the original distribution. After that date no more questionnaires were included in the results.
One hundred seventy‑five or 39% of households completed and returned questionnaires. Responses are summarized here:
1. Neighborhood Watch Program 97% 39%
2. Neighborhood Clean‑up 92% 8%
3. Rio Grande Nature Center 97% 3%
4. Bike Trail 93% 7%
5. All Faith’s Home 96% 4%
6. Division of Existing Lots 27% 73%
7. Development of Town Houses 32% 68%
8. Development of
9. Postal Service 65t 35%
10. Police Protection 74% 26%
11. Fire Protection 95% 5%
12. Refuse Collection 92% 8%
13. Water/Sewer Provision 92% 8%
14. Surface Water Drainage Provisions 76% 24%
15. Animal Control 52% 48%
16. Park/Recreational Opportunities 70% 30%
17. ABQ Ride bus ridership
18. Length of Residence of Respondents
19. Respondents 76% Own 24% Rent
20. Zoning 57% Had knowledge of
21. Traffic Increased 50% Yes 50% No
22. Garden 55% Yes 45% No
23. Dogs or Cats 67% Yes 33% No
24. Livestock 14% Yes 87% No
Responses to the advantages of living in the Alvarado Gardens neighborhood, the most frequent responses where the openness and rural atmosphere of the neighborhood, its quietness, its proximity to the Rio Grande and Bosque, and the convenience of living close to downtown.
Responses to the disadvantages of living in Alvarado Gardens neighborhood included frequent mention of encroaching development, unrestrained and barking dogs, and lack a lack of services such as shopping facilities, parks and recreational opportunities and mosquito control.