ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – With extra money to spend this year, cities and counties across New Mexico are submitting more requests than usual to the state to fund their projects. Albuquerque is no different, offering over 100 ideas with a prize pool totaling over half a billion dollars.
The state may be shelling out more money for projects than usual this year. The city hopes the Balloon Fiesta Park is a priority. “Mayor Keller has proposed a 50 for 50 initiative to honor and enhance the Balloon Fiesta with the $50 million investment on the eve of its 50th anniversary,” said Parks and Recreation Director Dave Simon.
As usual, the city receives dozens of requests for road projects, community centers, museums and parks. As the 50th Balloon Fiesta approaches, the city would like to launch major upgrades to Balloon Fiesta Park, starting with $17 million from the state.
The selling point to state legislators – it’s one of New Mexico’s biggest tourist draws. “We have a comprehensive plan to improve every aspect of Balloon Fiesta Park starting with the one thing I know everyone wants, which is a more permanent toilet,” Simon said.
They are looking to add arcades to both ends of Main Street, improve the vendor row with a boardwalk and more permanent buildings, and improve parking lots and the Park and Ride facility. The city also hopes to secure federal funds from the Build Back Better program.
If the city obtains funding, some of these projects could start as soon as the end of the year. The state has already approved money for the city to build a frontage road exit on southbound I-25 near Balloon Fiesta Parkway to help get traffic out after the events. This plan still needs to be approved by the federal government.