ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s been a priority for years, making the Albuquerque BioPark more accessible for low-income families. Now, after conducting a months-long study and looking at what other city’s have done, they have a few options. The city says a lot of families living can’t afford to visit the BioPark or the city’s museums.
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Lower-income families could soon get a big break at the BioPark admissions gate, getting in at either a discounted rate or maybe even free. “For a family of four or five, you’re looking at $40 to $50 to get through the gates,” said Shelle Sanchez, the director of Arts and Culture for the City of Albuquerque.
Councilor Klarissa Pena says these cultural facilities play a big role in education and development for kids. “A whole new world opens up,” said Pena.
They’ve been working on a plan to make it more accessible for everyone in the community. The city is considering three options, families could present their EBT or SNAP cards at admissions for a discounted rate.
The city could continue handing out annual passes to Title I schools like they did in May. The pass gets four people into the parks for a year. The final option, giving the passes to non-profits working with low-income families. They would be responsible for passing them out to those who apply and are approved.
“These are public facilities, all of us that live here are paying GRT taxes, we’re making these places vibrant for all of us,” said Sanchez.
The city says their initial study shows that the EBT option would reach about 450,000 New Mexicans. If the council approves that option, low-income visitors can get in for $3, and kids for $1.50. The city says there has been no discussion on raising admission rates for the Bipoark if the program gets approved.
Pena says she’s hopeful it’ll get approved and be in place by next spring. City council recently approved a pilot program, getting rid of all fares for city buses, that program will begin in January.