BERNALILLO, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s rare you see any development on the river in the Albuquerque area but now there’s a move to build a boating and canoeing area along the Rio Grande. The Outdoor Recreation Department within the Economic Development Department released the awardees of the grant that would develop a new outdoor development.
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In Bernalillo, they are planning on building a new picnic area and a dock and ramp for kayaks and canoes. The Rio Grande Conservancy District, along with a group called the Paddlers Coalition, filed for the state grant to bring more access to the Rio Grande around Highway 550.
“It was really dangerous for people to pull off and pull back in into that location with boat trailers and things like that. It’s a public safety improvement program as well,” Mike Hamman, CEO of the Rio Grande Conservancy District said.
The grant was for $25,000 with the Town of Bernalillo adding in an additional $25,000. Some people in town are worried the developed area could attract trouble, the Conservancy District said there should be no worry.
“There’s partying going on and various things that the local governments are concerned about, and this will be restricted access with gates and appropriate railing and managed parking so it’ll be an improvement,” Hamman said.
This isn’t the first proposal to bring more people into the area along the river. Three years ago, a developer wanted to build a river walk with shops, restaurants, and canoe rentals on the west side of the river but nothing has been done yet.
KRQE News 13 called the architects connected to that project and were told they don’t know if it’s still alive. Back in 2013, Albuquerque floated the idea of adding a boardwalk, bike and boat rentals and a cafe along the river but that idea was immediately shot down.