ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Every year, lawmakers set aside millions of dollars for community projects around the state. This year, more than $208 million could go towards projects in the Albuquerque area.
The funds are generally supposed to be used for infrastructure, buildings, and facility improvements. The cash can’t be used to pay salaries or fund non-government agencies. But the money can make a big difference for residents.
The funds have been approved by the Legislature. Now it’s up to the Governor to make the final say. So, what are some projects that could get funded?
Note: The following list is only a few of the 400+ projects set to receive funding. The full list includes everything from park and library improvements to funds for a new police helicopter.
Albuquerque is looking to get more than $1 million in state funding to help build more affordable housing in the city. Funding more housing is something Mayor Tim Keller has spoken about and prioritized.
“We are facing a housing crisis that affects people from all walks of life. This is the time to step up to address the crisis head on,” Mayor Tim Keller said in a press release in January. “Together, we can secure a future that’s affordable for Burqueños and their families.”
Originally, Keller asked for $50 million. During the lawmaking session, the funding was cut down significantly.
Legislators set aside nearly $2.5 million to help boost cancer treatment availability in Albuquerque. The money is intended to set up a proton beam to help treat cancer patients.
Proton therapy is a kind of treatment that uses positively charged subatomic particles to destroy tumor cells. The therapy allows for more precise treatment of cancer compared to radiation therapy, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
The creation of a proton treatment facility in Albuquerque is slated to cost more than $24 million in total. Several million dollars have already been pledged towards the project, and the $2.5 million from capital outlay should help fund one phase of the project.
ABQ shooting range improvements
Legislators are looking to give $150,000 to the city in order to improve the shooting range. The shooting range has been a bit of a work in progress for a while now, and this is the third round of funding towards the project since 2021.
The city’s shooting range is also a training ground for the Albuquerque Police Department. Records show that at least some funding has already been put towards range supplies, such as targets.
Suicide awareness butterflies
New Mexico is no stranger to the tragedy of suicide. In 2020, there were 520 suicides among New Mexicans, according to the Department of Health. Now, a local group is looking to bring awareness to the issue.
The Brandyn’s Friends Awareness Project is looking to kickstart the conversation on brain health and suicide. The group is named after Christopher Brandyn Cordova, who died by suicide. The group, and the push to end stigma, is now spearheaded by Cordova’s mother, Brandy Romero.
The group is looking to put artist-created butterflies along 4th Street in order to represent New Mexicans lost to suicide. The project, Romero explains, will go along with a Main Street Great Blocks program grant that’s looking to give the Barelas neighborhood a makeover.
This year, legislators have set aside $225,000 for the butterfly project. Romero says the goal is to get people talking about the seriousness of suicide and the ways people can get help.
Tramway Boulevard cleanup
Legislators have set aside some fund to help keep the land next to Tramway Blvd. clean. Specifically, they’re looking to clean the stretch from Montgomery Blvd. to Candelaria Road.
Legislators are set to put $125,000 towards the project. The idea is to clear out weeds and dead trees to reduce the risk of fire and protect the homes along both the east and west side of the road.
The city is also looking to improve the local animal shelters. That includes both the Westside Animal Shelter and the Eastside shelter.
The Westside animal shelter is looking to get $355,000 for new kennels and improved veterinary facilities. An additional $1.48 million is slated to be shared by both the Eastside and Westside Animal Shelters.
Hundreds of additional projects
The above list only represents a handful of the hundreds of projects looking to get funding this year. For the full list of projects laid out in the capital outlay bill, check out this link.