Albuquerque will host thousands of senior athletes next year for the National Senior Games, and now the city’s looking to build an Olympic-esque torch to welcome the crowd.
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller’s administration has proposed a series of bonds now under the consideration of city council that would in part use the Lodger’s Tax revenues to fund design and construction of improvements to Civic Plaza.
According to the proposal, one of the listed improvements is a “cauldron for the Senior Games.”
Albuquerque is slated to host the 2019 National Senior Games. The bi-annual event is slated to last 12 days from June 14 through June 25.
As Albuquerque’s mayor cannot introduce legislation to city council, Council President Ken Sanchez has introduced the proposed legislation for consideration.
Sanchez says he supports the project.
“Well I think we need to,” said Sanchez. “These are the senior games, the National Senior Games, we need to get a torch built.”
Sanchez says the proposed cauldron is estimated to cost $50,000 to design and construct. The city is aiming to place the cauldron somewhere in Civic Plaza.
“This will be a symbol of Albuquerque,” said Sanchez.
Other cities have built similar cauldrons as a part of the National Senior Games, including Birmingham, Cleveland and Houston. Both Cleveland and Houston kept their cauldrons as permanent public fixtures after the games ended.
Sanchez believes Albuquerque’s planned torch will be worth the money.
“With the 11,000 visitors and the money they’re going to spend right here in Albuquerque, and in New Mexico will be much greater than the $50,000 investment,” said Sanchez.
However, it’s unclear if Albuquerque’s torch would be permanent. The city is still finalizing a design and exact location for the torch in Civic Plaza.
City council still has to vote on the proposed bonds that would pay for the project. According to Visit Albuquerque, a ceremonial torch lighting event has already been slated for Saturday, June 15 at 7 p.m.
The city is also considering other enhancements to Civic Plaza, including a shade structure and more equipment to the newer kid’s play area, called “Prickly Pear Playground.”