ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – We’re getting a better idea of how Balloon Fiesta and United games can co-exist at Balloon Fiesta Park.
“Behind us is the future location, if council and EPC approves it and the team, United, do the financing, this will be the location of the United Stadium,” said Mayor Tim Keller while standing on the east parking lot at Balloon Fiesta Park.
If approved, the stadium would go on that east lot where power lines already deter balloons from flying over. The city said the stadium will be lower than those power lines.
“You don’t want balloon getting caught in lines or stadium,” said Lawrence Rael, CAO for the City of Albuquerque.
According to the city’s Parks Department, the stadium will take up 280 parking spots, but the city has a plan. It will add 1,100 new spaces to the north and northeast, creating a net gain of 820 parking spots.
“At the end of the day, we end up actually with more parking spaces than we lose because of the footprint of the facility,” said Rael.
While the team is funding the stadium, the city will invest in the project by adding infrastructure upgrades like plumbing. The Mayor’s Administration is pitching it as a win-win for United and Balloon Fiesta along with the entire community.
“We’ll have a stadium that can obviously function and operate here, and we’ll have enhanced amenities that will make the park even better for the future, especially for Balloon Fiestas and other events the city has here,” said Rael.
City Council still needs to vote on whether to approve the lease agreement. While there is no estimate yet on how much the infrastructure upgrades will cost, the city said it already has $4.5 million from the state legislature for Balloon Fiesta Park improvements.