Sandia Peak seeks funds to add mountain roller coaster

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ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Sandia Peak may be getting some new perks soon, but they need the help of Bernalillo County Commissioners.

The plan is for a total renovation at one of the top spots in Albuquerque, which could bring in more jobs and tourism.

Sandia Peak Ski Company and Peak Dining LLC are asking for a $9 million Industrial Revenue Bond, or IRB, to revamp the peak.

The money would be used for a brand new fine dining restaurant, bistro and bar, plus the installation of a mountain roller coaster.

According to Benny Abruzzo, President of Sandia Peak, the coaster would be the first of its kind in New Mexico. Riders would hop in the coaster at the top of the tram, and zip down the mountain.

Tuesday night, Bernalillo County commissioners discussed the proposal.

“We get 114 new jobs, we get a new attraction, in this case in the top of the tram, it helps generate revenue to the state, tourism dollars,” said Wayne Johnson, Bernalillo County commissioner.

“If this proposal guarantees there will be new jobs created at good wages at either low cost or no cost to the community, then it’s something worth doing,” said Bernalillo County commissioner, Maggie Hart Stebbins.

Commissioners made it clear, the $9 million IRB would not be using county money.

The bond would be sold to investors and the company would pay that money back.

Late Tuesday night, commissioners voted to approve the introduction of the IRB application. There will be 30 days for review and public comment before a final action will be taken.

If Sandia Peak gets the funding, they hope to complete the mountain coaster and restaurant by 2018.

The U.S. Forest Service must first approve the process before construction on the coaster may take place.

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