On principal, RGF opposes spending taxpayer dollars for the benefit of sports teams. But, in a world in which no priority is too big or too small for the federal government, let alone state or local government, to spend money on, that argument doesn’t get very far.
So, here are some of the most important arguments against the current plans for a New Mexico United Stadium. While the result of a vote will depend on many factors, the fact that so many people who DID take the time to offer public comments were opposed to taxpayer funding of the stadium is a strong indicator that the arguments are on that side (unlike many public comment opportunities, there was no interest group coordinating them, these were organic):
- THIS is the City’s priority? Albuquerque JUST set a record for homicides and there are 4.5 months left in 2021. Police cite “lack of resources” as a big issue. Clearly, there are OTHER more-important priorities for City government and our tax dollars.
- Will the United have “skin” in the game? The Isotopes pay the City of Albuquerque over $1 million annually in rent for Isotopes Park which was built in the footprint of the existing baseball stadium (and thus at a cost savings). What will the United be paying or is this a one-way financial relationship?
- We know that downtown Albuquerque (including the areas around the proposed sites) face numerous challenges in terms of public safety and homelessness that could derail this project. What will be done to “clean up” these areas and why aren’t they being done NOW? Will those efforts be enough to keep fans coming?
- Little has been said about the properties that would need to be purchased to build the stadium and essential amenities. How much parking will be needed and how many existing buildings (including potential historical sites) will need to be leveled for this facility?
- What about existing sites? UNM has both a state-of-the-art soccer facility AND a little-used football stadium (less than 10 games annually) that could seemingly accommodate the United, how about a more cost-effective solution there? And, while the league the United play in seemingly requires a soccer-specific stadium, are they going to kick out their attendance leader because they share a stadium with a minor league baseball team?