City plans for new aquatic center in NE Heights

[anvplayer video=”5174117″ station=”998122″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The City of Albuquerque is planning on starting construction for a new aquatic center in the northeast Heights as they continue working on putting the funding together. 

It’s a plan that has been in the works for years and officials are hoping to break ground this fall, but they will need the voters help to get it done. 

North Domingo Baca Park currently has a large empty lot between the tennis courts and the community center. But that empty space could soon be an indoor and outdoor aquatic center with multiple pools, slides, and fun for the whole family. 

“People who live up here are going to think it’s a good deal I think it’s a good deal I go to the aquatic center in Rio Rancho so being a senior it’s a great thing,” Neighbor Kevin Breen said Tuesday. 

“I think it’s a great idea we need something in this part of town, and it would also meet the needs of folks near the north valley,” Paul Swanson added. 

The city Parks and Recs Department’s website says they have been planning on adding a pool since 2005, but it wasn’t until 2021 when they published potential plans.

After working with community members, they came up with the designs that have a price tag of nearly $50 million:

That’s a number that made some neighbors cringe. 

“$50 million is too much for the city to throw at anything,” one park goer said. 

“The price tag is pretty high, but I know a lot of people who would enjoy an aquatic center my husband being one of them,” Joyce Smith said. 

But for other folks playing tennis or walking their dogs in the sights say it’s a price they are willing to pay. 

“It’s expensive, but it would be worth it for sure if you want nice things you gotta pay the bills, I think it will be worth it would be cool to have an aquatic center here something to do,” neighbor Mikah Madrid said. 

“Everything is more expensive now and I like their idea of getting started as soon as possible,” Swanson said. 

The final designs of the aquatic center include a 60-meter indoor pool, seating for 850 spectators, a 25-meter outdoor pool with additional play areas and splash pads. 

So where is all this money coming from?

Multiple city departments and city council have so far raised $31 million for construction. Another $6 million is from the state Capital Outlay. And the city will be asking for an additional $5 million from the voters in the form of a bond motion on the ballot this fall. 

While that doesn’t add up to the $50 million price tag, city officials say that isn’t stopping them from starting construction this fall.