Albuquerque officials broke ground Monday on the first of two community center projects on the summer docket, part of an accelerated wave of building meant to bolster the construction industry during the pandemic.
The $5.6 million, 15,000-square-foot center at Singing Arrow Park, south of Central and Tramway, will replace an older facility in the same park and will feature a fitness room, game room, crafts room, computer room and a warming kitchen.
Work on the project, planned for years, started months ahead of schedule as the city works to keep at least part of the economy chugging by pushing the pace on $70 million worth of new facilities, road improvements and other projects, officials said. Additional projects in the near future include a Westgate community center and the International District library.
The Singing Arrow project has had a bumpy road up to this point, including some fierce neighborhood resistance during the planning stages. Critics argued it could increase traffic and crime while eliminating green space. Neighbors who opposed the project appealed its site plan approval to the City Council last year but were unsuccessful.
Mayor Tim Keller and Don Harris, the area’s councilor, are heralding the center as a transformative project in a densely populated area of Southeast Albuquerque that will serve people from across the income spectrum.
“Fundamentally, this is also about equity,” Keller said during the livestreamed groundbreaking. “We’ve made a commitment to reinvesting in our communities that need it most.”
The city plans to keep using the existing community center to expand youth programming.
Harris said the center represents just one piece of a larger vision for the area that includes acquiring additional land in the vicinity for open space and creating an outdoor museum out of a nearby archaeological site.
“This is really going to be a community hub,” Harris said.