ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – They offer a chance to escape the hustle and bustle, without leaving the city. Now, the City of Albuquerque is putting more money into its Open Space Program.

“No one in our city is more than 20 minutes away from hiking trails that offer fresh air and exercise and a chance to relax and unwind,” said City Councilor Renee Grout at the council meeting on Monday.

Now, thanks to a new ordinance, the City of Albuquerque will have even more open spaces.

The ordinance sponsored by Councilor Renee Grout reserves a bigger percentage of the city’s general obligation bonds, which are paid off using taxpayer dollars, for buying and restoring open space land.

That increase from 2-3%, would mean a bump from $4 million for open space in a year to $6 million. The funds would be used for acquiring the land and improving what the city already has.

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At this week’s City Council meeting, members of the public spoke in favor of the ordinance.

“As seen during the pandemic, it’s the one place people could go, and they went in droves. and so we need more funds to acquire more property and to properly maintain and restore the ones that we have,” said one speaker.

 “A lot of people talk about what’s wrong with Albuquerque, well the Open Space Program is a clear success story,” another member of the public said.

Overall, it was supported by the council. The lone dissenting vote came from Councilor Brook Bassan, who said she isn’t against open space but wants the city to have more flexibility to use the money for other areas.

“That flexibility is necessary because Councilor Sanchez just said about the cracks needing repair in the open space trails, I have city streets that need cracks repaired,” said Councilor Bassan during the meeting.

Currently, the city has more than 30,000 acres of open space land.