According to a new report released by the Albuquerque Journal, a vast majority of commenters on Democrat Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller’s proposal to have taxpayers fork over $50 million for a new soccer stadium for the privately-owned “New Mexico United” soccer team. The report noted that negative comments on the subject outweighed ones of support 13:1.
According to the Denver-based consulting firm CAA Icon, the stadium would cost between $65 and $70 million.
Commenters chided Keller asking citizens, already hurting from the effects of the pandemic, to shell out more money for another large project, especially one that would pad the bottom line of a handful of wealthy team owners — while doing not much for the city.
One citizen wrote that the idea was “a handout for private industry that adds no value to lives of the everyday people who make up the community.”
Sydney Tellez wrote, “After nearly 17 months of enduring a major public health emergency, massive economic crisis, and exasperating inadequacies of our social programs, it is tone deaf to spend millions of dollars on a new stadium.”
One person wrote that the people who would have the stadium in their backyard wouldn’t even be able to afford a ticket to a game. “As it is many people living in those areas cannot even afford the ticket price to see a United Soccer game,” Mercy Marrujo wrote.
“There is no silver bullet to the problems that plague (Albuquerque), and, even if there were, it would not come in the form of a minor-league soccer stadium. When businesses and storefronts sit empty all across the city, what makes anyone think that plopping a giant stadium in downtown will suddenly bring those businesses back to life or that new ones will suddenly thrive in and around that stadium,” Alex Curtas wrote.
Supposedly moderately conservative City Councilor Brooke Bassan, who is sponsoring the proposal to send the question to voters, told the Journal, “I am definitely questioning whether or not a stadium should be built; however, it is also more reason for me to push forward for putting this on the ballot.”
Others noted how the idea to finance the stadium with taxpayers’ dollars was “reckless,” “thoughtless,” and “egregious.”
However, City Councilor Isaac Benton, also co-sponsoring the bill to bring the proposal to voters, shrugged off the public’s input. The Journal reported that he said, “he does not gauge public sentiment based solely on emailed comments.”
If approved by the City Council, the measure would appear on the ballot on November 2 whether to fund the boondoggle with tax dollars or let the private team finance its own stadium.