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Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Balloon Landing Task Force

The Task Force's mission is to review potential solutions to creating or acquiring additional balloon landing fields

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The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Balloon Landing Task Force was established through Albuquerque City Council Resolution-18-19 that was adopted unanimously by the City Council and signed by the Mayor of Albuquerque. The mission of the task force is to review potential solutions to creating or acquiring additional balloon landing fields by preserving existing landing areas and/or increasing the inventory of available landing fields. The task force will be composed of community leaders with knowledge and background in both the issues that have created the dearth of landing areas and in processes and procedures that could provide a solution.

As vacant land in the North Interstate-25 Corridor from Comanche/Griegos Roads to Alameda Boulevard is steadily infilled this eliminates landing spaces for balloons flying from the Balloon Fiesta Park. To account for the loss of landing areas the Board of the International Balloon Fiesta has reduced the number of balloons allowed to fly in the competition by nearly a half. As landing spaces continue to be lost through development, the operators of the International Balloon Fiesta may find it necessary to further reduce the number of balloons allowed to fly at the Fiesta, which would diminish its attraction as a massive gathering of hot air balloons.   The City has acquired land for balloon landing fields at Osuna Boulevard and Vista Del Norte Drive, and though helpful these lands are not sufficient to fully address the need for  landing space.  

The resolution chargers the task force to research recommendations that include but are not limited to:

  • State and local economic and tax incentives for property owners to provide temporary landing fields,
  • Leases that grant the City right to use parking areas on private property as landing fields during the balloon fiesta,
  • State and local incentives and/or lease agreements that enable property owners to make improvements to parking areas that enable their use as a balloon landing field,
  • Identifying improvements and operating changes that would be needed to use City owned lands and facilities as balloon landing fields,
  • The potential and feasibility of acquiring lands for both balloon landing fields and other recreations uses, and
  • Designation of City Facilities as temporary balloon landing fields during the fiesta.

The task force shall be jointly supported by the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and the City of Albuquerque Council Office, with support from the City of Albuquerque Parks Department, the City of Albuquerque Planning Department and other agencies willing to provide assistance.

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Task Force Membership

  • Don Harris, City Councilor, District 9
  • Cynthia Borrego, City Councilor, District 5
  • Lonnie Talbert, County Commissioner, District 4
  • Debbie O'Malley, County Commissioner, District 1
  • John Fitzpatrick, Office of Mayor Tim Keller
  • Paul Smith, International Balloon Fiesta, Vice Chair and Balloon Pilot
  • Sam Parks, Operation Manager International Balloon Fiesta and Balloon Pilot
  • William Rehm, State Representative, District 31
  • Bill O'Neill, State Representative, District 13
  • Derrick Lente, State Representative, District 20
  • Matt Guthrie, International Balloon Fiesta Board Member and Balloon Pilot
  • David Simon, Director, City of Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department
  • Don Britt, Manager, City of Albuquerque Real Property Division
  • Bill Nordin, Member, Albuquerque Metropolitan Parks Board and CFO EXPO New Mexico
  • Ty Young, Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and Managing Partner Young Equity Partners LLC
  • Jim Garcia, Hispano Chamber of Commerce, Vice President
  • Dick Rice, Richard Rice CPA - Accounty - Tax Specialist
  • Jeff Stuve, Cauwels and Stuve: Cauwels & Stuve Realty & Development Advisors - Commercial Realty
  • Pueblo of Sandia, Office of the Governor