City and state trade lands in hopes to resolve land use issues

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – On Saturday, the City of Albuquerque announced a property swap with the state of New Mexico, hoping to solve a lot of land use issues. 

“They’re fairly routine, and they’re always important,” said Mayor Tim Keller. 

The city is giving a lot on Menual near the Big-I to the state, in exchange for two properties. 

Keller says the deal is a win-win for both parties. 

“Number one, it does mean that we are going to get the access and the land we need to have a sort of anchor point for the Rail Trail. So this is a keystone piece of land for to make the Rail Trail possible,” said Keller.  

The new “Keystone Property” is near Broadway and MLK, and the other property is by Pan American Freeway. 

The mayor says this will be used by the Solid Waste Department. 

State Senate Majority Whip Michael Padilla says the property swap is for roughly equal valued land. He says the state plans to use the Menual land for a centralized public safety hub.

“There are five disparate offices in Central New Mexico related to public safety and the state police, and what this is going to do is it’s going to consolidate all of those services onto this property. There will be greater coordination, planning efficiency,” said Padilla. 

Padilla says the state has been looking for a place to do this for years, and this ends a heated discussion over the location. 

“Because the state is getting this land, this will not be a safe outdoor space. So by default there is closure on the question of whether or not there will be a safe outdoor space at this location,” said Keller. 

Keller says nothing was finalized about the swap, so the safe outdoor space was still on the table at the time of debate over the location. 

Padilla says since the swap is a joint resolution it only has to pass the state Senate and House. It does not need approval from the governor.