Three councilors want West Side considered for stadium project - Albuquerque Journal

Three councilors want West Side considered for stadium project

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Councilor Klarissa Peña

Three West Side Albuquerque elected officials want the city to reopen its multiuse soccer stadium feasibility study to include sites in their area.

Albuquerque City Councilors Cynthia Borrego, Klarissa Peña and Lan Sena are proposing legislation that would require the city to evaluate at least one possible location west of the Rio Grande, saying in their bill that the area “might offer greater land availability and space” and locations that fit stadium criteria and “provide greater visibility and access to the stadium.”

A recently completed, city-funded analysis detailed only four potential locations for a new multiuse stadium and future home for the New Mexico United soccer team; all were in the greater Downtown area: Coal/Broadway, Second Street/Iron, the city-owned Rail Yards and 12th Street/Interstate 40.

The consulting firm that did the study, Denver-based CAA ICON, ultimately identified Coal/Broadway and Second/Iron as “preferred” sites, though city officials say they have made no decisions. In fact, officials in Mayor Tim Keller’s administration said they will not pick a site unless and until city voters approve funding for the project.

The City Council is slated to decide Monday whether to put a $50 million stadium bond question on the Nov. 2 ballot .

The three West Side councilors will pursue an immediate Monday vote on their bill requiring a West Side location analysis by Jan. 1, 2022.

“I don’t know exactly what the best place is for (the stadium), but I feel we kind of got a little brushed over,” Peña said in an interview Friday, saying she was surprised the analysis did not evaluate a West Side location. “I think we should at least at a minimum give it a little (look).”

The city has now paid CAA ICON $450,000 for the analysis. The new legislation would appropriate an extra $50,000 for additional West Side review.

A spokeswoman for Keller’s office said Friday the city is “open to expanding the study” if voters ultimately approve funding for the project.

The city has at least some data about where the public would want such a venue.

Residents in the city’s 2019 citizen poll were asked about the best location for a new soccer/multipurpose venue. The most popular answer was near the city-owned Isotopes Park and the University of New Mexico athletic facilities, which 48% of respondents picked. Downtown and the West Side were a distant second, with 12% each.

Despite her quest for some West Side stadium consideration, Peña said she suspects that a stadium – if voters approve funding – will ultimately go east of the river. She is therefore pushing for a simultaneous West Side investment.

She said she and her West Side council colleagues on Monday also will propose tethering an additional $10 million for West Side youth practice facilities to the $50 million stadium bond question that may be headed to voters.

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