City nixes plan for visitor center at Elena Gallegos Open Space

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The City of Albuquerque said Wednesday they won’t move forward with building a visitor center at the Elena Gallegos Open Space.

The city said all studies found the facility would have a minimal impact on the surrounding area. However, community input pushed the city to not pursue the project further.

The city says Elena Gallegos Open Space gets over 200,000 annual visitors annually. Last year, they proposed building a visitor center with a classroom and a coffee bar.

In response, protesters expressed concern about the project’s environmental impact and disruption to the area’s scenic views. They also claimed the project would violate an old purchase agreement.

Now, with that project halted, the city will focus on trail work and renovating signage, benches, tables and other amenities on the open space.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Department will also work on improving safety on Simms Park Road near the open space.

The department also plans to invest up to $2 million into upgrading a nature center at the Tijeras Arroyo Biozone.

Response from “Save the Elena Gallegos” group:

“The Parks Department has no authority to bind this administration, this administration has no authority to bind the next one, and no administration has the authority to bind a City Council, which alone has the authority to appropriate funds. The City’s announcement today, while welcome, is legally meaningless and in no way binding.

‘Save the Elena Gallegos’ was organized to preserve and protect the Elena Gallegos Open Space, a CABQ treasure. It seeks a permanent injunction against construction of a facility in the Open Space because the deed to the property prohibits any such activity. It will continue to do so in order to preserve the Elena Gallegos as open space for generations to come.”