After months of study, a consulting firm has selected two downtown Albuquerque locations as the best places for a planned multipurpose soccer stadium.
Upon completion, the stadium will be the new home for the New Mexico United soccer team, which was founded in 2018, and is currently playing at the city-owned Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park, located at 1601 Avenida Cesar Chavez SE.
The sites selected by the Denver-based CAA ICON, which provides venue development services for large public stadiums, are both located in semi-residential and commercial areas in the downtown area.
The consultant’s study pinpoints an area near the Coal Avenue and Broadway Boulevard intersection for the stadium, with the second site located at Second Street and Iron Avenue.
It is thought that it will cost around $70 million to build the stadium at the Coal and Broadway site; while the price tag for a stadium at Second and Iron is estimated at just under $65 million.
Whichever location is ultimately picked, the new stadium, most likely with anywhere from 10,000 to 12,000 seats, will also be expected to host a variety of large musical and entertainment events.
In response to the completion of the consultant’s study, Mayor Tim Keller has announced that he will submit a resolution to the Albuquerque City Council, asking members of that body to put on the November ballot a $50 million bond to be used to fund construction of the new facility.
In an interview with the Albuquerque Journal, Keller said his goal is to “make sure and fund the minimum amount required for a stadium.”
But the Mayor added: “If there’s additional extras, how big it is and how nice it is, that’ll depend on other funds or matching funds from other governments and possibly other folks involved in the stadium who may or may not be with the team.”
Members of the New Mexico State Legislature earlier approved some $9 million in capital outlay funding for the project.
By Garry Boulard
Based on affordability, appeal to remote workers, and economic vitality, among other factors, several smaller cities in the West and South have emerged as home-buying boom towns, according to a just-released index compiled in part by the Wall Street Journal.
The Emerging Housing Markets Index places Billings, Montana, with a population of 182,000 at the top of its top fifty list for home sales activity.
Of the remaining 49 slots on the list, 27 were located in either the West or South, including Colorado Springs, Colorado, with a population of just under 750,000 people.
Yuma, Arizona, with a population of just under 100,000 came in at 23rd; followed by Prescott, Arizona, with a population of just under 40,000 at 43rd.
Boulder, Colorado, with just over 105,000 people, was listed at number 46.
The index, done in conjunction with the site realtor.com, underlines decisions being made by homebuyers that are particular to 2021.
“As the U.S. continues to move past the disruption of the pandemic,” an analysis of the study released by realtor.com contends, “households and businesses alike are searching for a new normal.”
This means that while many people today have returned their previous Covid-19 worksites, “some continue to have more flexibility around where they will work, making moves from one part of the country to another a possibility for more and more home searchers.”
By Garry Boulard
Work could begin later this year on a long-planned new fire station in downtown Colorado Springs.
Officials with the Colorado Springs Fire Department say the new facility will go up off the busy Printers Parkway, which runs north to south through the city, and is expected to cost around $5 million complete.
That location is adjacent to the fire department’s existing headquarters building.
The new station will include living quarters for fire personnel, as well as an operative radio shop for the repair of radios used by other city departments.
A rendering of the project shows a four-stall garage with one-story facility space on either side of that garage.
City officials have for years talked of a need for more stations in other parts of Colorado Springs, with the possibility of three more new facilities being built primarily for the growing northern and eastern sides of the city, between now and the year 2030.
The fire department currently has 22 stations located in various parts of the city.
By Garry Boulard
A company specializing in space exploration, intelligence mission solutions, and missile defense is building out a major facility space in Albuquerque.
The Arlington, Virginia-based BlueHalo, wants to make operational a research and development facility that will go up near the intersection of Gibson Boulevard and Carlisle Boulevard SE.
To that end, the company is receiving up to $2.5 million from the New Mexico Economic Development Department in the form of a Local Economic Development Act grant.
The project is additionally expected to receive $250,000 in LEDA funding through the City of Albuquerque’s Economic Development Department.
The new home for BlueHalo is more specifically known as the Max Q, a 70-acre mixed-use site at the edge of the Kirtland Air Force Base.
In a statement, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said the BlueHalo initiative is the “kind of economic expansion and partnership that New Mexicans can get excited about.”
The Governor added that BlueHalo “represents an excellent investment in our ongoing efforts to diversify and accelerate our economy.”
It is expected that the company will ultimately spend upwards of $60 million on its new Albuquerque location.
In a press release announcing its new Albuquerque facility, BlueHalo said it focuses on “inspired engineering to develop, transition and field next generation capabilities.”
Earlier this month, BlueHalo announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire the Design and Development Engineering Services Corporation of Albuquerque, which specializes in the design and production of space-qualified electronic systems for Class-A spacecraft.
By Garry Boulard
Hundreds of new homes may soon see construction just outside the growing Arizona city of Goodyear.
The Fulton Homes company, which is based in Tempe, has now purchased nearly 200 acres located at the northwest corner of Indian School Road and Perryville Road with plans for building a residential project that would be equal to some 675 lots.
Purchase price for the land, in an area of significant new home development, was just under $15 million.
As envisioned, the master-planned community would also see the construction of a sports park, as well as an aquatic center.
The site in question, for decades the home to a dairy farm, is hugging the border of both Goodyear and the city of Buckeye.
Both cities have witnessed significant population growth in recent years, with Goodyear going from 19,000 people two decades ago to nearly 87,000 as of last year. Buckeye, during that same period of time, has jumped from 6,500 to just under 80,000.
Demographers say that explosive growth is only expected to continue in the decade ahead.
Exactly when work on the new development will begin has not yet been announced.
By Garry Boulard
A just-released opinion survey shows that 59% of respondents think improving the nation’s infrastructure should be a top priority for President Biden and members of Congress.
The survey, conducted by the Associated Press and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, additionally shows that 87% of responding Democrats said they wanted infrastructure legislation to focus on funding for road, bridges, and ports, with 79% of responding Republicans agreeing.
The survey also found that vast majorities of respondents identifying with both parties were in favor of funding for water system and electric grid infrastructure spending.
Democratic respondents were far more likely at 61% to support funding for public transit projects, with only 42% of Republicans agreeing.
A greater gap between the two parties was seen in the support levels for funding the construction of electric vehicle charging stations, with 45% of the identifying Democrats indicating support, and 23% of the Republicans.
A separate party divide was seen on the question of who should pay for the country’s infrastructure projects with 89% of the Democrats in favor of raising taxes on corporations, and 43% of the Republicans.
The idea of raising taxes on households making more than $400,000 a year won the support of 84% of the Democrats, and only 40% of the Republicans.
A vote on a bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure proposal is expected to be taken early next week in the Senate.
By Garry Boulard
Roughly $18 million in funding will target a variety of system upgrades in the more than 30 schools belonging to the Santa Fe Public Schools district.
The work will include improvements to existing heating and cooling systems, as well as plumbing, and will be paid for out of a $100 million general obligation bond to be decided by voters this coming November.
Other projects include the $16.4 million building of new common space and breezeway at the Santa Fe High School, located at 2100 Yucca Street. That facility is also expected to see the creation of a drop off space.
The Early College Opportunities High School, at 2301 West Zia Road, is slated for $2.7 million in work that will include the building of a new cafeteria and gym.
Exactly $11 million will go for the building of a new roof at the Capital High School, located at 4851 Paseo del Sol.
Other projects will be devoted to making all of the district’s facilities Americans with Disabilities Act compliant, with just under $5 million to target solar power and water conservation projects, also district-wide.
The $100 million bond, if approved, will be paid for through property tax revenue. A 2017 general obligation bond, also for $100 million, was approved by Santa Fe voters by a 68% to 32% margin.
By Garry Boulard
As Congress nears the final hours of a vote on President Biden’s massive infrastructure proposal, a new study is suggesting that the economic value of individual infrastructure projects should be open to question.
If the country is going to embark on an across-the-board infrastructure program, contends the study published by the Aspen Economic Strategy Group, it might be wise to apply “some discipline” to the process of what projects exactly are going to be funded.
The authors of the study, Economic Perspectives on Infrastructure Investment, contend that all infrastructure projects are not equal, with most varying widely in their benefits and costs.
In a press release accompanying the study, the Aspen group suggests the use of “careful cost-benefit analysis, perhaps carried out by a nonpartisan federal agency created for the purpose, which can help identify which projects should be undertaken.”
Noting that infrastructure projects in the U.S. tend to generally be more pricy than the same projects in most other countries, the study also recommends “improving procurement practices and project management” as a means of controlling costs.
And while building anything new is always alluring, the study suggests: “Maintaining existing infrastructure, rather than building new projects, is one of the most cost-effective ways to deploy new infrastructure dollars.”
“Cost-benefit calculations must also consider maintenance spending as an important infrastructure outlay,” the study continues, while noting an existing “bias of the political system toward ribbon-cuttings for new projects.”
By Garry Boulard
A series of long-planned community halls may see construction soon in different locations of Mesa County, Colorado.
Members of the Mesa County Board of Commissioners have given their approval to a plan that will see the building of at least four facilities, all designed to house community events, meetings, and classes.
As currently planned, the structures will be built in the towns of Clifton, De Beque, Mack Loma, and Whitewater.
The towns vary in population from around 500 people in De Beque to 21,000 in Clifton, and have traditionally lacked such community facility spaces.
What is being called the Community Halls Project is expected to see actual work beginning in Clifton and De Beque next spring.
The design process for those two centers is already underway.
Funding for the project is coming from revenue generated by a sales tax that was approved by Mesa County voters in 1981.
County officials have said that while the exact size and dimensions of the new halls have not yet been determined, they will generally be developed along the lines of a community hall earlier built in the town of Mesa, which includes a library, health clinic, and kitchen, among other amenities.
It is expected that it will cost around $8 million to build all four of the planned new Mesa County community halls.
By Garry Boulard
An existing public school administration building in downtown Durango may be upgraded and repurposed as a new office and station for the city’s fire department.
Officials with the Durango Fire Protection District say that they want to purchase a 4.3-acre site in the 1200 block of E. 12th Street, with the idea of demolishing a 1960s-era high school, while upgrading the next-door historic administration building.
That latter structure is a three-story brick building that was opened in 1917 and served as a high school until 1976 when it became the Durango School District’s headquarters.
As proposed, the project would cost around $15 million for the demolition of the high school and repurposing and remodeling of the administration building.
That remodeling would likely see new space carved out for the fire department’s emergency services center, with the building’s spacious auditorium used for training sessions.
The Durango School District has entered into a letter of intent with the Durango Fire Protection District, stipulating, in part, that the historic administration building be both preserved and maintained.
The Durango Fire Protection District’s current downtown station, at 1235 Camino Del Rio, has a number of structural issues, lacks adequate space, and was never intended to be a permanent location for the fire department.
While nothing between the fire district and the school district has been finalized, it is expected that once that transaction is completed, it will take up to 18 months to arrive at a design for the renovation of the administration building.
The building, notable for its terra cotta trim, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.
By Garry Boulard
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