City of Albuquerque aims to acquire open space around San Antonio Oxbow

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Mayor Tim Keller and Albuquerque officials held a press conference on Thursday, May 28 to highlight the city’s coronavirus response and to make a public plea to private landowners to sell the city open space around the San Antonio Oxbow.

General updates

The Water Authority has received several reports of customers receiving fraudulent phone calls regarding supposed overdue utility bills. The calls inform customers they have overdue bills and that their water will be shut off due to nonpayment. The Water Authority reminds customers they will never call customers regarding overdue bills and that these calls are scams.

A special COVID-19 testing clinic will be held Friday, May 29 at the Islamic Center of New Mexico and on June 6 at FirSst Nations Community HealthSource.

The local community has been providing meals to those in need during the pandemic. Mayor Keller stated to date, 533,000 meals have been served. The following are the approximate number of meals served by local organizations:

  • Albuquerque Public Schools: 300,000 meals
  • Albuquerque’s Health and Social Service Centers: 3,000 meals
  • Child Development Centers: 1,000 meals
  • Community Centers: 10,000 meals
  • Bernalillo County 50,000 meals
  • Senior Affairs Department: 130,000 meals

Mayor Keller stated the summer meal program will continue this year and the city will provide further information on this program at a later time.

Restaurants began opening up patio dining this week and health inspectors will be transitioning back to on-site health inspections going forward.

Open Space

Mayor Keller stated that the city’s Open Space areas have been used heavily during the health order and the public has been good about practicing social distancing while in the areas and respecting no parking zones. It is currently forest fire season and Open Space Patrol and Albuquerque Police Department will be monitoring the areas for fire dangers.

City officials state that they are attempting to acquire privately owned open space around the San Antonio Oxbow. The San Antonio Oxbow is about 30,000 acres of open space near Coors Blvd. and Namaste Rd. near St. Pius High School.

The city currently owns about 40 acres of the area which is called the San Antonio Oxbow Overlook. The Open Space Division manages the San Antonio Oxbow as a wildlife preserve and there is no public access to the wetlands.

The open space is home to a variety of wildlife including beavers, muskrats, migratory birds and more. Much of the open space in the 30,000 acre Oxbow area is privately owned and the city stated Thursday it is looking to buy much of the property in the area.

The city has $4.6 million to buy some of that property. The funds come from the New Mexico State Legislature severance tax bond funds. The city is interested in the Poole property which is north of the currenty open space the city owns.

City Parks and Recreation Director Dave Simon said the city has called the private developers and is now awaiting a return call regarding the area. The Oxbow area land is under threat of home development. In February 2020, the city’s Environmental Planning Commission approved a revised plan for a 69-home development.

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