*Editor’s note: Albuquerque City Council voted 7-2 Monday night to place the $50 million bond question to pay for a new New Mexico United stadium. That means the proposal is set to appear on November’s ballot.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque city council is figuring out how to support neighborhoods directly impacted by a potential New Mexico United soccer stadium. On Monday, Councilor Isaac Benton introduced a resolution that would create a Community Benefits Agreement with a neighborhood directly impacted by a soccer stadium. It’s something the Barelas Neighborhood Association, which one of the proposed stadium sites lies in, asked for.
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“It’s sort of a contract with the city in which we get sort of a guarantee that they will be looking out for us. And it’s a legally enforceable document. So instead of empty promises, if they don’t deliver, then we have legal recourse,” said Anna Padilla, the president of Barelas Neighborhood Association.
According to the resolution, the Community Benefits Agreement would be between the city, New Mexico United, and the neighborhoods adjacent to the proposed stadium. It would make sure the stadium provides beneficial services like opportunities for local artists, providing after-school soccer programs and scholarships for youth. The agreement would also address affordable housing, jobs and transportation in the area, to help protect residents and small businesses from impacts the stadium may bring.
“We’ve been trying to advocate for just any neighborhood in which this is placed. because you know, as we learn more about community benefits agreements, it’s clear that anybody should have this type of document in hand before they agree to having it in their neighborhood,” said Padilla. She said the resolution being introduced to city council on Monday is a ‘skeleton’ of what the actual agreement may look like.
She said at a community meeting this past weekend, Barelas expressed concerns about noise and traffic that may come along with a stadium. If the stadium goes into the Barelas neighborhood, the Barelas Neighborhood Association is considering hiring a specialist who helped with a similar agreement in Nashville.
Also on the agenda, a proposal to consider the west side for the site of New Mexico United’s proposed soccer stadium. Three city councilors are in favor of this. One of those councilors, Cynthia Borrego says that it’s ultimately up to the voters to decide where and event if, a stadium is built.