ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A grassroots organization is preparing to take legal action against the City of Albuquerque to keep an open space area free of development.  

The non-profit, “Save the Elena Gallegos Citizen Committee” says the lawsuit is meant to stop the city from building an educational center in the Elena Gallegos Open Space. 

The organization started a petition against the development plans in October but says more needed to be done. 

“Without filing an injunction, without pursuing this legally, this is a situation that could recur over time, and we really want to see it protected indefinitely,” says Viki Teahan, grassroots cofounder. 

The educational center would be built specifically on the Pino Trail or the Cottonwood Springs Trail Head. 

The organization says its petition has gotten more than eight-thousand signatures. They’ve also gotten support from environmental groups including the Central New Mexico Audubon Society. 

The grassroots organization is preparing legal action, arguing if the city moves forward with the educational center, it would be directly violating an agreement from 1982 that prohibits development in the area. 

“We can’t wait, because if the mayor starts to take action here it’s done, this land is disrupted and that’s why need to file a lawsuit to make him stop until it’s resolved once and for all,” says Barbara Blumenfeld, a plaintiff on the lawsuit. 

The “Save the Elena Gallegos Citizens Committee says there are sixteen plaintiffs in the lawsuit. They say they plan to file the litigation early this week.

We reached out to Parks and Recreation who released the following statement:

“This project is still in the public input phase.  The Parks & Recreation Dept./Open Space Division is completing further environmental and engineering studies.  No final decisions have been made on whether the City will move forward with an environmental education facility, what that facility might specifically look like, or where it would be located.  The Open Space Division would not propose a project that we feel would unacceptably impact the Elena Gallegos Open Space and we will continue to advocate for increased access and social equity in environmental education.  As we move forward in the process, further public input opportunities will take place once studies are complete.”

City of Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department