ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – There’s a petition drive to put a stop to the city’s plans to build in the Elena Gallegos Open Space in the foothills. The city wants to build an Education Center, but the idea has had its critics since day one. 

“The beauty and the majesty of the Elena Gallegos is that it’s a sweeping vista. um, you go there to be immersed in nature, not to walk through a government building and look at dioramas,” says grassroots member Katrina Sanchez. 

The city has proposed plans to build a new Educational Center for the foothills in the Elena Gallegos Open Space–specifically the Pino Trail or the Cottonwood Springs Trail Head. Something similar to the Valle De Oro Visitor Center in the South Valley.  

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A grassroots organization called the “Save the Elena Gallegos Citizens Committee” hopes to stop that from ever happening. They’ve started a petition against developing the area. Claiming it violates a 1982 agreement.

Hikers KRQE News 13 spoke to also want to keep the park the way it is. “I like the wilderness character that certain areas in these mountains and the Sandias here have, and if they put a large center of some sort in here, it might change that quite a bit,” says hiker Mark Bohrer.  

The petition has almost hit its target of a thousand signatures. The organizers have also hired a lawyer to fight the city. 

“This is not just about one building. This is about the entire future over the next 50 to 100 years of the Elena Gallegos. Because if this building goes up, we’ll have no legal path as a community to stop a second building or a third building or a fourth,” says Sanchez. 

Parks and Recreation released a statement saying the project is still in the planning and public input phase. They say they’re aware of the covenants and ordinances and have not made any decisions.