ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city of Albuquerque is looking to spend millions on sports-related tourism. Mayor Tim Keller announced a multi-million dollar package of proposed infrastructure projects.
Mayor Keller is hoping about $28M in improvements to Albuquerque fields and stadiums will bring more big sporting events to the Duke City.
“We saw a huge return of investments from the senior games, an estimated $30M,” said Mayor Tim Keller.
Keller says this summer’s senior games shined a light on how much the city needs updated facilities and more of them, in order to continue hosting popular sporting events.
“The Lodgers’ Tax already exists and so we’re just bonding against those revenues so we can get more money up front,” said Keller.
Today, the mayor announced a list of proposed infrastructure projects he wants to do using the Lodger’s Tax. On that list, a million dollar facility upgrade to Isotopes park.
“It’s all geared towards fan safety and just making the experience safer, bottom line is,” said John Traub, General Manager.
Traub says the netting would be extended to the foul poles to help protect fans. There would also be an update to the pitcher’s mound to make it easier to change out the field for United soccer games.
“Basically, with a push of a button, the pitcher’s mound can get lowered so that the field is flat, or raised, so that the mound can be put back in place for baseball,” said Traub.
The biggest chunk of money would go towards fixing Los Altos Park, near I-40 and Eubank. About $10.5M would help add another softball field, help fix the homeless problem by adding more lighting, and make upgrades to the skate park.
All of this is in hopes Los Altos Park can be the place to hold big sporting events in the future.
“We believe up to 14 tournaments a year can be housed in Albuquerque alone,” said Keller.
Another big ticket item, $3M for a multi-use soccer facility somewhere in the metro for the NMAA and a place for the United to practice. Teams currently have to go all the way to Bernalillo to use the soccer complex there.
Here is a list of all the proposed projects the city wants to do:
- $2.5 million to replace the City’s 16-year-old indoor track. A new track maintains Albuquerque’s prominent role as a national destination for indoor track competitions and reputation as a center of training for elite athletes. The track is a partnership with the University of New Mexico Track & Field Program.
- $3 million to build a multi-use soccer facility to host New Mexico Activities Association championships as well as tournaments which draw thousands of athletes and their families to competitions. The project would also be able to house practices for Albuquerque’s popular professional soccer team, New Mexico United.
- $10.5 million to rebuild the 50-year-old Los Altos Park, which is still the busiest park facility in the City. The upgrades will increase capacity to host regional softball tournaments, such as the 14 tournaments that came to Albuquerque in 2019 alone, that attract thousands of visitors. Funding would also enhance Albuquerque’s role as a leader in the new Olympic sport of BMX, adding a pump track, which along with our existing dirt track will continue attracting national events.
- $2 million to connect Downtown, EDO (east downtown) and the Innovation District with a multi-use trail, tying together the Convention Center, current hotels, and future development for residents, students, and visitors with a safe, fun way to access downtown, civic plaza and the Convention Center.
- $3 million to upgrade 25-year old Convention Center infrastructure and add outdoor message boards that better serve the public, large meetings, and special events, and evaluate the potential of Kiva Auditorium to host a larger range of events.
- $1 million to upgrade Isotopes Park, a center of sports activity for both soccer and baseball. Nets will protect young children and families during games and field improvements to provide for an easier transition from baseball to other uses, including other sports like soccer as well as concerts.
- $2.5 million to support the long-term success and sustainability of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta by preserving open space landing sites for balloons. As the city grows, suitable landing space is shrinking.
- $3.5 million to expand the Westside Baseball Sports Facility Complex to support larger and more frequent regional baseball tournaments and providing more recreation opportunities for families on the Westside.