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Water Authority Approves Funds to Extend South Valley Water Project, Provide Service to West Side Visitor Center

Councilor Peña and Commissioner Quezada sponsored the amendments to fund the projects

The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority has authorized completion of a critical drinking water project in the South Valley’s Los Padillas neighborhood and also will make water service available to a planned Visitor Center on the West Side, City Councilor Klarissa Peña and County Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada announced today.

Councilor Peña and Commissioner Quezada, who serve on the Water Authority’s governing board, sponsored the amendments that will allow funding for the two projects.  The amendments were incorporated into the Water Authority’s FY2019 capital budget, which was approved by the utility board at its May 23rd meeting.

“We are very pleased to announce the allocation of dollars for two very important projects in our community,” said Councilor Peña, who is a past chairperson of the Water Authority board.  “With no State money available for the Los Padillas water project, this injection of funds – almost $2.6 million – from the Water Authority makes completion possible.  And by deferring the $1.5 million in up-front costs for connecting the Visitor Center to the water system, the utility is allowing the City and County to free up funds to spend on actual construction.”

Commissioner Quezada, who represents the Los Padillas neighborhood on the County Commission, said both the water project and the Visitor Center are great examples of intergovernmental cooperation.

“Between the County and the Water Authority, we will have enough dollars to complete the Los Padillas water project, of which I have been an advocate since my election,” he said. “And now the Water Authority is joining with the City and the County in our cooperative effort to create an inviting and exciting welcome point – with a museum, event space, and tap room – for visitors entering our community from Nine Mile Hill on the West Side.”

Councilor Peña added that the Visitor Center represents “a great opportunity to capitalize on our city’s association with the iconic Route 66 motorway.”

Construction of the Visitor Center is contingent on voter approval of bond funding, with construction tentatively scheduled to begin in late 2019.  Phase 1 of the Los Padillas project, meanwhile, kicked off in October of 2017 with County and Water Authority funding and is nearly complete.  With the additional dollars from the Water Authority in the FY2019 budget, the remaining phases can move forward.

“This project is bringing clean, reliable municipal water service to a neighborhood where shallow domestic wells can be easily polluted and where fire protection is always an issue,” said Commissioner Quezada. “It’s great to be part of a Water Authority and a County Commission that is making the South Valley a priority.”