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City Council to Increase Funds Available for Open Space Acquisition

On April 6, Albuquerque City Councilors Harris, Lewis, and Sanchez will introduce legislation that will revise the Open Space Trust Fund to make all funds available for acquisition of open space land.

Since the current ordinance was passed in 1982, proceeds from the sale of all open space land have gone into the Trust Fund, and interest from that account has been used for open space operation and maintenance. The fund is worth around $11 million. However, under current market conditions, it only generates about $65,000 per year in interest – barely enough to pay the salary of one Open Space employee.

Given these market conditions, the price of land, and the need to acquire and protect more of our natural resources, the councilors feel that it would be best to dissolve the trust fund and use the proceeds to purchase land for Open Space

This legislation will have three parts: 

  1. It will authorize City Council to hire a consultant to study the feasibility of selling city-owned land in areas outside Bernalillo County.
  2. It will dissolve the Open Space Trust Fund and transfer its balance to a capital acquisition fund.
  3. It will amend the 1988 Open Space Trust Fund ordinance to reflect these changes.

The city’s Parks & Recreation Department has identified several priorities for open space acquisition in each quadrant of the city (Note: these are not in any particular order):

  • Northwest Quadrant

    1. Calabacillas Arroyo (150 acres west of Unser)
    2. North 1/3 of Northern Geologic Window (80 acres)
    3. North Rio Puerco Escarpment (6,570 acres)
    4. Northern Sand Dunes (600 acres)
    5. Bosque land north of I-40 (approximately 60 acres)
    6. Volcano Heights east of the Northern Geologic Window (79 acres)
    7. La Cuentista land along the escarpment (TBD)
  • Southwest Quadrant

    1. Cerro Colorado Volcano (300 acres)
    2. Bosque land south of I-40 (approximately 17 acres)
    3. South Rio Puerco Escarpment (1,670 acres)
    4. Southern Sand Dunes (340 acres)
    5. Southwest Mesa Edge (1,760 acres within Santolina Master Plan)
  • Northeast Quadrant

    1. La Cueva Arroyo (50 acres)
    2. Pino Arroyo (50 acres)
  • Southeast Quadrant

    1. Mesa del Sol (300 acres of steep slopes and playa areas)
    2. Tijeras Arroyo East (TBD)
  • All Quadrants:

    1. 12,905 acres
    2. Approximate value: $95.5 million

Average cost per acre: $7,400

View the official press release here.

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