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Mayor Berry, Abruzzo Family Break Ground at Balloon Fiesta Park

Tribute area to receive makeover

To say that Albuquerque has an unbreakable tie to ballooning would be an understatement; Albuquerque IS ballooning.  For years, the City of Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta Park and The Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum have been the home of the world’s premiere ballooning event, Balloon Fiesta.
This marks a red-letter day in the history of the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum and Balloon Fiesta Park. As a result of the 2011 G.O. Bond Program - and the Abruzzo Family - the link between Balloon Fiesta Park and the Museum is growing stronger.  The citizens of Albuquerque approved $500,000 for renovation of the area just north of the Museum (referred to as the tribute area), and the Abruzzo family (Sandia Peak Ski & Tram Companies) has made a commitment to donate $250,000. Public Art also contributed $128,000. “We are just grateful for the community’s commitment to this project, and the Abruzzo family for their generous donation. This kind of generosity is a shining example of the community – private partnership activity that makes this city great,” Mayor Berry said.  “We can’t wait to get started.”
The project – in its initial phase – will include grading and the installation of grass and an irrigation system. Trees will be strategically placed, sidewalks installed, and ideas for a feature honoring late ballooning legends Richard Abruzzo and Dr. Carol Rymer Davis are in the works. Later phases of the project will feature amenities such as a Tribute Plaza, an amphitheater, tribute tree ‘groves’, a sculpture garden, a children’s play area, an entertainment plaza, and a bridge from the park to the museum. “We are excited to see this critical connection between the park and the museum,” added Parks and Recreation Director Barbara Baca.
Work on the project begins this week, and the initial phase is expected to be completed before Balloon Fiesta 2012 festivities begin.