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Voters to decide bond question for proposed soccer stadium

August 17, 2021 GMT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — It will be up to Albuquerque voters to decide whether they want to foot the bill for a new soccer stadium.

The City Council voted 7-2 Monday to put the bond question on the Nov. 2 ballot following a two-hour debate.

If approved, the city would borrow $50 million for the project. Officials said that would give them enough to build a “bare bones” stadium and they would have to find additional money for something better. Seeking more money from the state Legislature would be one option.

Some critics have questioned the push for a stadium, saying the city should put more money into public safety to address violent crime and Albuquerque’s record number of homicides.

Even supportive councilors acknowledged they still had limited information about the city’s plans.

“Without question, there are questions, and these questions need to be answered,” said Isaac Benton, who co-sponsored the bill to put the issue on the ballot.

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Benton amended the measure to express the city’s intent to execute a “community benefits agreement” with the neighborhood where a stadium may eventually be built. He said he thinks the project has promise and that the whole city should have a chance to weigh in.

The Albuquerque Journal reported that the vote comes less than a month after city-hired consultants completed a feasibility analysis for a potential multiuse stadium.

The analysis assumed a 24-event calendar devoted primarily to the New Mexico United soccer team. It also included two high school sporting events and two potential concerts, though promoters have indicated concert opportunities for the new stadium may be limited.

The city has not completed projections for how much revenue the stadium would bring in.