Albuquerque faces challenges to create new open space land

One Albuquerque city councilor wants to preserve history and make sure the community gets to enjoy it. She wants to create a new open space area on land she says is the real root of Albuquerque. However, KRQE News 13 has learned that acquiring the land won’t come cheap.

“It has this spectacular views,” said District Three City Councilor Klarissa Pena. “You can see the Sandia Mountains, you can see the Manzano Mountains, the city of Albuquerque.”

Councilor Pena is referring to an open plot of land in the Crestview Bluff area near Old Coors and Central, envisioning a new purpose for it in the future.

She says this land has a history.

“It was found to be home of the original town of the Atrisco, so they discovered some potential archeological finds,” said Councilor Pena. “The old cemetery is here and it actually predates the city of Albuquerque, even Old Town.” 

She hopes to transform the outlined land into an open space area. It stretches over 34 acres of now vacant land and an arroyo.

“It’s owned by city, county and actually has some private ownership as well,” said Councilor Pena.

That is where she may face some challenges, however.

The site is comprised of 43 lots owned by 27 people. In order for it to be turned into open space, the city and county would have to buy those lots. The estimated price tag is $1.25 million. 

A 2016 study found most lot owners wouldn’t give up the land easily, “holding out” to see how much money they could squeeze out of the government.

“We’re lucky to live where we live,” said neighbor Twyla McComb.

Meanwhile, those who live nearby are desperate to bring an open space to a neighborhood they say lacks it.

“So many of Albuquerque most important open spaces and parks connect here already,” said McComb. “It just makes sense for this to be open space as well.” 

Councilor Pena would like to see walking trails, picnic areas and other recreation opportunities on the land. She introduced the resolution to preserve it Monday night.

The next step is for the county and city to approve it to start the bidding process.

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