Twenty-two acres of Vista del Norte is to be acquired as a balloon landing site and recreational field. Councilor Debbie O'Malley will introduce legislation that transfers funds from various Balloon Fiesta projects to City Council for the balloon landing site purchase.
City Council Vice President Debbie O’Malley is introducing legislation (R-08-97) for immediate action that will authorize the President of the City Council to sign and enter into an agreement or agreements to acquire the 22-acres at the Vista del Norte site in the North Valley for the extension of the Balloon Fiesta Park. This 22-acre property will serve as a much-needed future balloon landing site as well as recreational fields for the surrounding region.
The City has allocated funding to acquire the Vista del Norte site from various sources, including 2005 and 2007 G.O. Bonds and state grant funds in 2007 for a total of $5,210,000. Given the shortfall, Bernalillo County Commission Chairman Alan Armijo has agreed to introduce legislation requesting that the County contribute up to $1 million dollars of their Open Space funding towards the cost of the acquisition.
“I’m grateful that Chairman Armijo sees the benefit to the region to have this site secured and is willing to work with the City Council to move forward in acquiring the valuable 22-acres,” said O’Malley. “Securing this property is absolutely key to the future of our world-renowned Balloon Fiesta and our state’s tourism.”
Supporters of the Balloon Fiesta, as well as the owner of the property, have been anticipating the City’s acquisition of this property for more than a year. Councilor O’Malley is concerned that further delays to acquire may result in an increased cost of the land or in the property being developed for other purposes, thereby decreasing the availability of land for balloon landing sites.