Dozens of residents and community leaders gathered Wednesday in the Barelas neighborhood, demanding that city and taxpayer resources not be allocated to the New Mexico United Stadium project. In recent weeks, community members and activists have organized themselves to oppose what they expect to be a displacement of community members from established and historic neighborhoods and the financial burden the stadium will place on them. Albuquerque taxpayers.
“Our local elites encourage these projects and do nothing to stop the displacement,” said Anna Lee Desaulniers, coordinator of the “Stop The Stadium” campaign. Desaulniers said she was motivated to organize opposition at the stadium after being forced to leave her residence in Barelas last month due to the rising cost of rent. Lee noted how other stadiums in cities of similar size to Albuquerque had displaced and uprooted historic neighborhoods. “Multimillionaires don’t need our tax dollars. We need our tax dollars to go directly to improving our quality of life, ”said Desaulniers.
Charles Knoblauch, owner of the house where the press conference was held, criticized the historic neglect that the Barelas neighborhood has endured by city administrators. Knoblauch criticized the city’s enthusiasm for the project, while other needs such as traffic, safety and homelessness in the neighborhood have historically been overlooked. “Destruction of an established neighborhood, Barelas, who pays for the displacement of the inhabitants? Are they doomed to homelessness? said Knoblauch.
The president of the South Broadway Neighborhood Association, Francis Armijo, was also present at the press conference. Armijo criticized how the stadium would benefit established residents of Barelas rather than stadium investors. “Nowhere do I read or hear about the economic and social impact this will have on the Barelas and South Broadway neighborhoods. This is because, in my opinion, we just don’t matter. In my opinion, we are the sacrificial lambs of this vanity project. Please, when you vote, ask yourself, “Would I like this in my neighborhood?” Said Armijo.
The director of the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice, Jim Harvey, was also in attendance. Harvey criticized the use of the city’s resources, particularly the stadium’s perceived priority over affordable housing and services for Albuquerque’s homeless population. “I know gentrification when I see it. And that’s what it is. No more gentrification. More money in the pockets of people who don’t need it. And ultimately more life for people who can afford high-end properties and once the space is available, that’s what we’ll see. We don’t need that. What we need is a realignment of resources. We have homeless people who live on the streets and under bridges and corners and wherever they can find them.
The New Mexico United for All campaign recently launched a public awareness campaign in favor of the stadium, claiming that the stadium would be of benefit to all residents. The campaign encourages voters to vote yes on the $ 50 million stadium bond on the November election ballot.
The organizers of “Stop The Stadium” have scheduled a rally on November 1 at 5 pm on 4th Street and Barelas Road. SW.