Updated: Thursday, 30 Jul 2009, 11:19 PM MDT
Published : Thursday, 30 Jul 2009, 11:19 PM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The cost of modifying a loud and massive BMX racing facility could go into the millions, according to a city councilor who accuses the city administration of building the structure at the wrong location.
But Albuquerque City Council President Isaac Benton said he will wait to see what the mayor’s office proposes before moving forward with council action.
“The administration has proposed a number of things, some of which I think will be helpful,” Benton told KRQE News 13.
The BMX dirt-track facility opened three years ago near Isotopes Park. It’s one of the largest facilities for BMX bicycle events in the nation.
City administrators made a bad move by failing to notify nearby residents of changes to a site plan approved by neighbors and the city’s Environmental Planning Commission in early 2005, according to Benton. The original plan had the BMX facility sitting 500 feet farther away from a string of homes on Buena Vista Drive SE.
Neighbors complain about a large amount of noise and dust.
“The bare minimum as far as I’m concerned would be a properly designed sound wall,” Benton said. However he added he is still open to the idea of moving the entire facility to the location identified in the original site plan.
City administrators estimated the cost of moving the facility at $4.2 million although an independent evaluation commissioned by the city council puts the cost at $1.8 million.
“It is still a lot of money, but it’s nowhere near what the administration has been talking about," Benton said.
Staffers with the mayor’s office and the Department of Municipal Development are looking at less expensive ways to address neighborhood concerns.
“We’ve got staff looking at an entire array of sound-mitigation measures to minimize any impact to the surrounding neighborhoods,” Chief Administrative Officer Ed Adams said.
So far the plans include various modifications to the east parking lot, facility landscaping and construction of a sound wall to capture noise. But so far the plans are just a work in progress.
“We think we can solve these issues without having to go to the extreme measure of moving or relocating the facility a few hundred feet,” Adams said. “Hopefully within a year we’ll have a package of solutions to present to the council for their consideration.”
Benton plans on pushing for council action within the next couple of months.
“There will be a council action to move forward with
something,” Benton said. “I do believe it’s a
priority because I think it’s an error that the city