ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque is looking to either finish up or make a dent in many capital projects across the city. The funding that officials say could have gone toward a new stadium for New Mexico United could now be directed toward reducing crime and homelessness.
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A city councilor is hoping these funds coming from gross receipts taxes can help support projects like a new aquatic center at North Domingo Baca Park in the northeast heights. It’s been planned for a long time but has been held up because of the price tag.
“This pool that the constituency has wanted has been on the books for 16 years,” City Councilor Brook Bassan said.
That pool could be well on its way to becoming a reality if the city council signs off on $12 million toward the project. “Hopefully [in] the [2022 legislative] session we’ll be able to get the final funding for that,” Bassan added.
It would be part of a larger $110 million investment in recreational facilities, public safety, and housing across Albuquerque. “This is the same funding we were talking about when it came to whether or not the voters wanted to approve the $50 million for the soccer stadium,” Bassan explained.
Albuquerque voters earlier this month overwhelmingly shot down that bond for New Mexico United, some saying they’d rather that money go to housing and public safety. “I just feel like the money could be put to better use,” one voter said on Election Day.
Bassan said this ordinance promises to do that. “What doesn’t get things finalized in this proposal, gets things really close,” she stated.
The project list includes more than $45 million for improving parks, open spaces, and those recreational facilities, like $10 million toward a new multi-gen center across from Cibola High School. About $40 million would address public safety projects, like updating Albuquerque Police Department Main, the academy building, and other public safety facilities.
Another roughly $26 million dedicated to housing would be allocated for rental assistance and creating a so-called sobering center inside what will be the city’s new Gateway Center homeless shelter off San Mateo and Gibson.
“We don’t have to take people who are inebriated to a hospital where that’s already inundated. We need somewhere else where people can go to get sober, get treatment and assistance,” Bassan said.
Lofty goals that Bassan is claiming could be taken care of quicker with the available funding.
Voters won’t get to weigh in on the city wishlist like with GO bonds, even though this list covers very similar projects. Bassan said people are encouraged to reach out to their city councilor with feedback or suggestions.
The city council could vote on Dec. 6 and need a supermajority vote of seven councilors in favor in order for it to pass. If the council does not support this ordinance, Bassan said they could later try to get it on Bernalillo County’s ballot next year.