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GRT Funds Transforming ABQ BioPark through New Exhibit Construction and Renovations

Capital improvements guided by the BioPark’s Master Plan.
May 3, 2022 - The ABQ BioPark released a report on projects funded by the 1/8 cent gross receipts tax (GRT) in 2021, including major expansions and renovations in progress. This past year, the BioPark spent or encumbered a total of $19.2 million for capital improvements. 
 
Projects made possible by the GRT in 2021 include the first phase of Asia at the Zoo, which features a new elephant overlook and event deck. The new Asia exhibit, completed in two phases, will span 4.5 acres of previously undeveloped land is projected for completion in 2023. The second phase of Asia will include innovative new homes for orangutans, tigers, snow leopards and Steller’s sea eagles.
 
Other 2021 projects include BioPark-wide utility expansions to replace aging infrastructure and support new construction; an irrigation master plan to rehabilitate many miles of irrigation line to nearly 30,000 plants; preparations for the new electric tram route; a new indoor habitat for small African birds; and new roofs for the Aquarium, rhinos and elephants.
 
“It’s exciting to look back on the last five years since the GRT went into effect and to imagine its total impact over the next ten years,” said Stephanie Stowell, ABQ BioPark director. “The GRT’s transformation of the BioPark is improving the quality of life for our community as well as that of the plants and animals in our care.”
 
The GRT was approved by voters and went into effect in July 2016. It will provide an estimated $255 million over a total of 15 years.
 
 “Major projects made possible by GRT funding are finally coming to life, and we can’t wait for folks to experience them,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “The investments we’re making show the deep level of care our community has for the BioPark, and the enriching and fun opportunities it creates to connect visitors to the natural world.”
 
In addition to the ongoing construction for second phase of Asia, 2022 GRT funds are supporting the construction of the first phase of Australia; the all-electric tram engine and carriages; re-designs for the Botanic Garden’s Heritage Farm; and a backstage pool for the hippos at the Zoo. 
 
This year, the BioPark will update its Master Plan to reflect the evolving needs of the BioPark facility, its guests, and the animals and plants in its care. 
 
Find the GRT Report here.