ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The BioPark’s best-kept secret inside the Botanic Garden may see some big, new additions soon.
The city is now eyeing a series of projects at the Heritage Farm that could bring enhanced exhibits, added event space and new attractions, including a potential interactive play area for kids.
“We have the acreage to expand and make this even more of a focal point or the BioPark,” said Brandon Gibson, an associate director for the city’s Cultural Services Department, which oversees the BioPark.
The Heritage Farm is one of the quietest areas of the Botanic Garden today, mainly due to its location and tucked away entrance. The farm, which is a historic open area, sits in the back of the Botanic Garden.
“The Heritage Farm might be one of those hidden gems of the BioPark,” said Gibson.
The city is now hoping to revamp the farm to draw in bigger crowds. A design firm recently drafted a conceptual plan for adding new uses and attractions to the farm.
According to a review of the site by that private design firm, the farm is “challenged” with a lack of a clear entrance to the farm and lack of space for education programs among other issues.
“We have the acreage to expand and make this even more of a focal point for the BioPark,” said Gibson. “This is just a great educational hub.”
Currently, the farm is home to farm animals, loads of different growing fruit and vegetable plants, a few historic farm buildings, an apple orchard, even a cider press that’s used every fall.
The city’s recently published conceptual plan calls for potentially adding a new walking path through a series of ponds, a first-ever play-area for kids, even a massive event barn that could host hundreds of people for events like wedding receptions.
Other include building a community plaza with modern restrooms, adding a train stop for visitors to get off the train and visit the farm, along with adding a new walk-in entrance.
“Just continue to grow this great program we have out here,” said Gibson, of the city’s hope for the future of the farm.
The city currently has a bid out for architects to design the project. Architects are expected to submit their proposals by November 1, 2019. After that, the city will likely select one company to design the project, then figure out exactly what will get added to the farm and how much that will cost.
The city is looking to pay for the project with funds raised by the BioPark 1/8th cent gross receipts tax, which voters approved in 2015.