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City Celebrates the Reopening of Barelas Park

Parks and Recreation Department holds ribbon cutting to reveal new renovations to historic Barelas Park

June 7, 2023

ALBUQUERQUE – Mayor Tim Keller and the Parks and Recreation Department (PRD) held a ribbon cutting ceremony to reopen historic Barelas Park in downtown Albuquerque. After being closed for about a year, the City welcomed the community back in to the heart of the neighborhood, highlighting many new features and future plans. Barelas Park renovations include a new multi-use court, lighting, playground equipment, a promenade through the park, 117 new trees planted, benches, extended turf and parking.

“Barelas Park is the beating heart of Albuquerque’s history and heritage,” said Parks and Recreation Director, Dave Simon. “The park renovation will help keep the community healthy and strong for years. Welcome back!”

Barelas Park was originally constructed in 1974 and became one of the most popular gathering places of this historic neighborhood. A goal for the renovation project was to create a city “campus” to connect the community center with the senior center and provide better recreation space for both user groups. The parking lot that divided the site was moved to the perimeter and the walking spine was leveled to avoid the need for stairs to enter the community center; improving ADA accessibility for Barelas’ Therapeutic Recreation Program. The reorientation of the park moved the playground closer to the community center to improve surveillance of community center participants. Deteriorated tennis courts were removed to accommodate a new multi-sport court suitable for basketball, futsal and other court games; the new court incorporates four graphic designs that represent key elements of Barelas: The Railyards, the Zoo/BioPark, the Camino Real, and the National Hispanic Cultural Center.  Repurposing the old tennis court space also allowed for additional grass area for community uses. The City continues to invest in these types of renovation projects, not only for the health and quality of life benefits, but for the revitalization and protection of historic sites.

“Our investments in renovating Barelas Park means that it now serves a bridge for generations, honoring the historic community while providing a safe and thriving space where future generations can gather,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “Albuquerque’s parks continue to be key in maintaining the health, wellness and quality of life benefits for our residents, and we are particularly pleased to bring these new amenities to the community of Barelas.” 

Phase 1 of renovations cost approximately $1,935,000 and was funded by Community Development Block Grant funds and $200,000 in 2022 state capital outlay funds allocated by State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino.  The westside parking lot is currently under construction as the final part of phase 1.

Phase 2 will begin when funding becomes available.  Future elements in Phase 2 will include 3 pickleball courts, outdoor exercise equipment, horseshoe pits, shade structures, a giant 40-ft long “family table,” improvements to the existing handball courts, and interpretation/education elements that will celebrate the history and heritage of the Barelas area.

State Representative Miguel Garcia and State Senator Bill O’Neill each allocated $50,000 in state capital outlay funds in 2023, which will be used for Phase 2. 


About CABQ Parks & Recreation: The City of Albuquerque’s Parks and Recreation Department is responsible for maintaining nearly 300 parks, 143 miles of multi-use trails, more than 29,000 acres of Major Public Open Space, four municipal golf courses, and numerous aquatics and recreation facilities throughout Albuquerque. Hundreds of employees across six divisions within the Department take pride in ensuring Albuquerque residents have great facilities to foster a vibrant and healthy community.