ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After pushback from residents, the City of Albuquerque is giving up on a proposed educational facility in the foothills. Several years ago, the city began discussing a range of proposed improvements to the Elena Gallegos Open Space, a popular spot for hikers, bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts. In addition to improvements to trails and parking options, the city introduced the idea of building an educational center. But some residents opposed the idea.
“They didn’t feel that that was the most appropriate place for an education center I still definitely stand by our intentions of what we wanted to do there,” said Colleen McRoberts, Open Space Division.
The ‘Save the Elena Gallegos Citizen Committee’ announced a lawsuit against the city in order to stop the construction of the proposed building. Now, the city says it’s no longer pursuing the idea due to the community feedback. Instead, they’ll focus on building a nature center at the Tijeras Arroyo Biozone.
“Improving environmental education and equitable access to our Open Space remains an important community need,” the Parks and Recreation Department Director, Dave Simon, said in a press release. “The significant new resources proposed for the Tijeras Arroyo project would help advance our efforts and provide more ways for people to enjoy nature in Albuquerque.”
The Tijeras Arroyo Biozone is set to include an education center at 15600 Central Avenue, at the mouth of the canyon to the East Mountains. The city says the site will host Open Space programs, Bernalillo County programs, Sandia National Wilderness education, and Tijeras Creek Cultural Corridor educational programs.
Elena Gallegos Open Space, on the other hand, will mostly be left alone. Although the city says basic trail improvements, new benches, and better signs are still in the works for the Elena Gallegos area.
“It feels good to know that we’re not going to ruin the beauty of the outdoors with you know extra buildings,” said hiker, Rachel Nash.
Simms Park Road, which leads to Elena Gallegos Open Space, could also see some changes. The city is looking to improve safety (particularly for bicyclists) along the road.