Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Riverfront revival.(New Mexico & The West)

Byline: Story by Fritz Thompson* Photographs by Richard Pipes* Of the Journal

Farmington takes pride in walkway that glides along the once trash-dotted banks of the Animas

FARMINGTON Twelve years ago, the brushy banks of the Animas River through Farmington were littered with trash skeletons of junked cars, shells of discarded washing machines, rusty barrels, all the flotsam of human habitation.

Today the riverbank in those same places is a broad, brick promenade beside the free-flowing river, such a genuine showcase that a chain hotel recently built four stories as close to the walkway as it could get.

The promenade today is 3.7 miles long and has cost the city about $5 million.

After a slow start in the early 1990s, the river walk has earned universally good reviews and increasing use from the local populace in this city of 41,000. More dog-walkers, bike-riders, brown-baggers, kayakers, horse-riders, wedding parties and joggers are showing up. Many of the people staying at nearby hotels have joined the mix, having heard at random about the walkway or gotten a glimpse of it from their room.

"Let's face it, if someone has been sitting in a meeting all day it's kind of nice to go out walking along the river," said Jeff Bowman, director of the city parks and recreation department. "They'll meet people from Farmington along the way, and people in Farmington are always glad to share their opinion. …

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