Voters in Albuquerque will decide on November 2 whether their City should build and pay for a new multipurpose soccer stadium. Check out this excerpt from a recent essay in the NM Political Report titled “Publicly funded stadiums boost quality of life. But economy? Not so much.”
“The payoff for Albuquerque in economic terms is far from certain, according to multiple economists who said publicly financed sports stadiums rarely justify the expense with new jobs or economic activity. And there are concerns among some residents about the impact of the stadium on surrounding neighborhoods, as well as how millions in public dollars could be better spent.”
Up until now, the Albuquerque City Council has been far wiser than us on the question of building public stadiums.
In 2001, the City of Albuquerque spent $25 million to convert the old Sports Stadium, built in 1969, into the Isotopes baseball park. By contrast, El Paso we demolished our City Hall and built a Ballpark that cost the taxpayers well over $160 million and loses money every year. We then demolished Cohen Stadium, which could have been upgraded into a modern ballpark for a fraction of the cost.
In 2004, the City of Albuquerque considered a proposal from a Phoenix consultant to construct a downtown multipurpose arena but the idea languished for years. In 2015, the Mayor tried to revive the proposal but it never got off the ground. The idea evolved into a plan to convert part of their convention center into a 10,000-seat arena, but that stalled as well.
Now the City of Albuquerque is putting to the voters a multipurpose soccer stadium.
Their incumbent Mayor supports the project but his two opponents are opposed.
At least their City Council is not trying to conceal from the public what it is they intend to build! Their ballot language is crystal clear.
El Pasoans deserve better.