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City breaks ground on $18 million baseball complex

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The city broke ground Tuesday on an $17.8 million baseball complex officials say will attract tourists and other economic development opportunities.

The Albuquerque Baseball Complex, to be located on the West Side near Interstate 40 and 98th Street, will contain five synthetic turf baseball fields and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The project’s contractor is Bradbury Stamm, and the architects are Consensus Planning and G. Donald Dudley Architects.

Mayor Richard Berry said the project was a critical component of Albuquerque’s selection as the site of the 2019 National Senior Games.

“If we’re going to be a world-class city, we need world-class facilities,” Berry said. “Sports tourism is an opportunity we’ve missed in the past. We’re not going to miss it anymore.”

Councilor Dan Lewis said about $13 million of the project’s funding will come from revenue bonds that had originally been earmarked for Tesla’s battery manufacturing plant. In 2014, Tesla chose Nevada over New Mexico and three other states for its plant. The rest of the money was appropriated by the City Council.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, officials positioned the project as an economic development opportunity that would create jobs in the community. A spokeswoman for Councilor Ken Sanchez said federal guidelines dictate that 27 jobs must be created for every million dollars of public money spent, and estimated the complex would generate about 500 jobs between the construction of the facility and its operation.

Sanchez called the complex a “field of dreams” and said he was hoping to secure resources for phase two of the project, which will include an indoor facility and a soccer field.

Donna Swanson, president of the Tres Volcanes Neighborhood Association, said she was pleased the project was moving forward.

“The city is moving west as it grows,” said Swanson. “I ask that our elected officials continue to remember us out here.”

After officials threw ceremonial shovels of dirt into the air, a drone operated by Bradbury Stamm employees slowly lifted off the ground. Then it flew west.