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Residents raise concerns over North Domingo Baca Aquatic Center plans

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Northeast Albuquerque is closer than ever to getting an aquatic center they’ve been promised for decades, but there are worries now that the city won’t prioritize what some neighbors call the most important part of the project. 

Since 2005, neighbors have been awaiting the North Domingo Baca Aquatic Center to be built here near La Cueva High School with an indoor pool as a top priority, but they’re worried the city is about to spend money on other elements of the project first. “Well, first of all, 20 years is a long, long time,” said Judy Griego, local resident. 

Lots of neighbors near North Domingo Baca Park are hopeful the wait is nearly over for a new public pool. The city’s promised a 60-meter by 25-yard indoor pool facility with indoor lap lanes, plus an outdoor pool along Wyoming, North of Paseo. 

But some residents are worried, thinking the city is about to re-prioritize how the project will get built out. Neighbors, launching a petition Tuesday, urging city leaders to build an indoor facility first. 

“We do not want the city to direct funding towards the construction of an outdoor pool at North Domingo Baca Park, until after the indoor Olympic Pool Aquatic Center has been constructed,” said Tom Weeks, member of the swim community and indoor pool advocate. 

The city’s raised around $50 million for the Aquatic Center but they’re still without a final dollar figure for how much the entire project will cost. Some neighbors worry the city may build a cheaper outdoor pool first and may not have enough money to build the indoor facility.

Neighbors think that move would cause further delays to indoor pool, which has been promised for 20 years. “It’s more beneficial, year-round. It’s nice to have the outside but I think the priority is the inside facility with all the amenities that go with it,” said Griego. 

Councilwoman Brook Bassan who supports the project says neighbors are worrying too soon. “Right now, no one is saying we want to build anything other than an indoor pool first. We are using all of our resources and opportunities and negotiations to ensure that that does happen,” said Albuquerque City Councilor Brook Bassan.  

Councilor Bassan says if everything goes according to plan, she hopes construction on the indoor facility will happen before the end of this year. Responding to neighbors concerns, the City Parks and Rec Department sent KRQE News 13 a statement:

Bradbury Stamm was selected to construct the North Domingo Park Aquatic Center. The City is now negotiating with Bradbury Stamm to complete the actual contract. That process is expected to wrap up around the end of the month. Until then, to preserve the integrity of the contract process, the City cannot comment extensively. The City’s goal is to build the entire Aquatic complex. We have heard the swim community and understand the importance of the indoor Olympic-sized pool.”

Emily Moore, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, City of Albuquerue Parks & Recreation

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