Albuquerque city council to finalize projects for upcoming bond election

Politics - Government

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A new fire station, a long-awaited swimming pool, and designated places for the homeless to camp out. Those are all on the city’s finalized list of projects it wants to send to the voters in November.

There’s more than $130 million worth of projects in this bond package covering everything from road work to museum upgrades. The most expensive proposal, a new fire station. That’s $7 million to replace the cramped Fire Station 12 near Juan Tabo and Central.

Fire officials say it’s one of the oldest stations in the city and an upgrade will help crews keep up with the high number of calls they receive. “The ability to house another fire apparatus out of that station, to better handle to call volume that is in that part of town would be the biggest improvement,” says Albuquerque Fire Rescue Spokesperson Tom Ruiz.

City Councilor Diane Gibson pushed to set aside a half-million dollars for permanent encampments where the homeless can sleep, shower, and use a bathroom. There are no set locations yet for those camps. The city is also requesting $2 million the fix up the future Gateway Center Building, the old Gibson Medical Center which the city already spent $15 million to purchase.

“We are actually working with our architect right now to determine what renovations are needed so we don’t yet have an exact estimate of the total dollar amount of those renovations,” says Lisa Huval, Deputy Director of Housing and Homelessness.

The city wants to direct $3 million toward the long-awaited North Domingo Baca Aquatic Center. District four City Councilor Brook Bassan says this money would only cover a portion of the project’s total $15 million to $18 million costs. The aquatic center will include an Olympic size pool, a therapy pool, and a splash pad.

“There is no public pool in this area of town and so I think it’s going to be a huge impact for people young and old those of lower-income to higher income. We can do competitions, we can help the seniors who need therapy we can help the youth,” Bassan says.

City councilors are expected to vote later this month on putting this bond package on the ballot. The bond package also sets $2.5 million aside for rail yards redevelopment. There is no money set aside for a New Mexico United soccer stadium.

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