Infrastructure improvements at the midtown campus, an expansion of the Santa Fe Regional Airport and the completion of Phase 2 of a south-side park are among five top-priority capital projects jostling for position on the city’s wish list for the upcoming legislative session.

The City Council’s Finance Committee discussed the proposed state funding request Monday and voted 4-0 to move it to the full council, which is expected to vote on the resolution Oct. 27.

An $11 million request for the airport terminal building expansion is the heftiest project on the list. It includes a third departure and arrival gate, a larger baggage claim and passenger waiting area and a new paved parking lot.

City Public Works Director Regina Wheeler said the state funding would help replace a portion of the $12 million the city already has allocated to the project.

The list also includes a $10 million request from the Legislature for infrastructure improvements at the dormant midtown campus.

The city has been trying to set the stage for development at the 64-acre site following a January decision to cut ties with Dallas-based KDC Real Estate and Development/Cienda Partners, which had been selected as the potential master developer.

According to a city memo, the project has received $2.1 million so far, including $1 million from a 2021 legislative appropriation.

City officials also have floated the idea of asking voters to approve a bond issue to help fund the improvements.

A project to spruce up medians across the city also has garnered support.

The proposal would seek $3 million from the Legislature for a median beautification project that would affect about 80 medians across the city along St. Francis Drive and Zia, Cerrillos and Airport roads.

A long-gestating plan to construct a new fire station in southwestern Santa Fe was identified as a priority as well.

The city intends to request $9.38 million for the project.

Finance Committee Chairman Roman “Tiger” Abeyta said the project previously had been put on hold amid financial uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

A $3.5 million request would fund the second phase of work at the Southwest Activity Node Park, or SWAN park. The first of three phases for the 90-acre, $5 million park was completed in 2015.

The city also plans to submit a list of policy priorities to the Legislature.

According to a city memo, the potential list includes:

  • The transfer of state land adjacent to the midtown campus in exchange for city-owned property now used by the state Department of Public Safety.
  • Legislation to ensure so-called hold harmless payments are not eliminated or reduced.
  • Eliminating a 3 percent cap on annual property tax increases on homes that are not an owner’s primary residence.
  • Establishment of an additional lodgers tax to help with affordable housing.
  • Any initiative that would improve and expand early childhood education.

The New Mexico Legislature’s 30-day session in 2022 will begin Jan. 18 and end Feb. 17.

(3) comments

Francisco Carbajal

Here we go again with the City of Santa Fe ignoring the traditional and historical communities (i.e., La Cieneguilla Land Grant, La Cienega, Agua Fria, etc.) south of the Santa Fe Municipal Airport. The quality of life, safety, health and welfare of these communities have been step-sided by the City Mayor, the Governing Body, and the County of Santa Fe for several years (circa. 1980's to the present). So why is that? To this day, we still do not have a "Noise Abatement Ordinance" and some type of "Flight-Zone" Ordinance to protect the daily and nightly intrusion of small and large aircrafts from flying at low-attitudes in a residential and sacred (religious) cultural sites in the La Cieneguilla Land Grant. Now, the City of Santa Fe is planning for an Airport Expansion without public input from city and county resident's. The fact remains that these traditional and historical communities south of the city limits will be ignored and ignored by these lame-duck's regardless on who is the current Mayor, City Councilor, and/or County Commissioner. So, who is really addressing the public safety, health and welfare concerns for these old generational families south of the city limits?

Stefanie Beninato

Lodgers taxes are already very high--the council and mayor said the CURRENT lodgers tax would be used for affordable housing---nothing like killing the golden goose with even higher room costs (that goes for airbnb too).

AND NO to any tax for the Midtown campus. David Coss should never have genuflected to Big Bill's demand to buy that campus and now the city needs the state to bail it out on the needed remediation. What a mess!!! And that criticism goes to every councilor including V-C, Romero-Wirth, Lindell, Abeyta, Rivera etc as well as the mayor.

Gerald Joyce

Totally agree with MS Beninato. The City, who has proven not able to manage a petty cash account, should not have bought the Mid Town Campus. If the purchase were economically viable, private investors would fight for the right to develop it. After investing $20M in the purchase the City wants to invest another $30M alone in infrastructure and who knows how much to consolidate city servjces. Really, you can't make this up.

With regards to SWANN Park Phase II, the City has shown no desire to take care of Phase I. They won't even buy grass seed to repair the fields. In fact, the field was locked for 4 of the 5 years it was in existence because Parks and Recreation allowed a soccer league to overplay the grass areas without any oversight. They don't even weed the Park but wait for visiting teen groups from TX and CO to get the work done for free. They canceled the security contract for the second time which causes the gates to remain closed many days in the AM and stay open very late in the PM resulting in vandalism and noise late into the evening hours.

Maybe we can kill two birds with one stone. Turn Midtown into a City park .We would only have to service the current debt and not impact the Parks budget. After all maintenance is almost non existent.

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