Sports Events One of The Keys to Tourism

Mayor Tim Keller Pushing A 28 Million Dollar Package Of Sports-related Projects. He Says It Will Boost Albuquerque’s Profile As A City That Can Handle Larger Sporting Events. The Mayor Wants To Refinance Existing Lodgers Tax Bonds To Pay For, Among Other Things, A 10 Million Dollar Renovation Of Los Altos Park That Would Add A Soccer Field And Bmx Track. Three Billion Bucks For A Multi-use Soccer Complex And Three-and-a-half Million To Expand The Westside Baseball Facilities, Improvements To Downtown Connected Trails, The Convention Center, The City’s Track Facility.

Does Albuquerque Necessarily Need This Sports Tourism Thing And Is This The Right So, It Is Always You Know Things Are Going To Get Interesting When You Roll Out Your Big Plan And Immediately Some Of The Groups Impacted By That Plan Come Out And Say, We Wish You Talked To Us About This First. You’ve Won Big But Your Cashout Was Voided Because You Didn’t Wager Enough and Read the Terms and Conditions? Play  online casino singapore at Casinoslots and get rid of such problems. So You Have The Hotels and Casinos In Town Asking The Tough Questions About, Are These Projects Needed? Would They Help Increase Tourism Visits To Our City?

And If Not, Are There Other Things We Could Do With This Money That Would, Like Making More Upgrades To The Convention Center. What The City And Keller Are Arguing, It Is Important To Move Now And Move Fast Because We Have Lodgers Tax And We Can Get A Lot Of Stuff Done With This Money And There Are More Heated Discussions To Be Had On This. I Can Feel It Too. Mary, Stay On The Tax Established And The Idea Of A Lodgers Tax And How It Is Spent. Something Seemed A Little Off Here. Those Guys Weren’t Included In This Conversation.

That Is What Struck Me Reading The Journal Story Was That They Seemed Surprised By It. It Sounded To Me Like Keller Said That They Are Meeting Deadlines For The Next Year But It Makes You Wonder About I Really Did Not Understand What They Were Saying In The Article. It Was So Arcane And So Bizarre. Public’s Ability To Grasp This, Is This The Way To Go And Hitch It To A Bond Window, You Know?

Well, I Think That Like It Is Just Communication, You Know. I Am Curious About The Rush To Getting To This Moment. I Don’t Think That Is Something That Has Really Been Brought To Light Yet That Could Explain That, But If I Read Correctly The Vote Is Still Coming Up Quite Soon. Yes, As A Matter Of Fact. Scheduled At Least, Yes.  So, The Issue Is The Fact That The City Has Some Ideas About What They Want To Do With This Money And That Is It’s Own Discussion But Then, Yeah, The Idea, If True, That The Lodgers Or The Hotel People Are Not Part Of This Is Interesting Almost As A Side Story.

Here Is The Piece That Was — Throw This To Serge — Members Of City’s Own Lodgers Tax Advisory Board. They Knew Nothing Of The Plan Until The Mayor Announced It. That Is The City’s Own — You Know What I Mean — Deal There. What Is Your Sense Of Why They Are Moving This Direction To Make This Kind Of Work? Why Go This Route?

Great Question. I Think The Lack Of Communication, Lack Of Understanding, It Could Be Some Sort Of Tactic. We Have Created This Emergency To Have It Run, To Have Everybody Jump On This, You Know, Which We Have Seen In Other Situations.

But, That Is Probably Not Sufficient Justification For Not Having A Greater Discussion And Not To Have More Input On What And How And When And Why. I Think I Don’t Know If We Have Time, But I Think The Tension Is, Right, Having A Meaningful Discussion And Facing What Would Happen With New Mexico United, With The Rail Yards, What Happened With A Lot Of These Big Projects That We Think Will Be Transformational And Then There Is This Idea Of How Do You Get People To Buy In. These Advisory Committees Are Supposed To Be How We Plug Into People. People Can Talk To The Representative, Come To City Council And Say It Is A Great Idea But This Is How We Do It. I Do Think — I Think What Is Going On Here, To Your Initial Question, Gene, Is I Think Here Is An Opportunity To Refinance These Bonds And Add To Them And Basically Have A Revenue Stream To Back It.

It Is A Great Shot In The Arm For The Economy To Build Projects That People Have Been Talking About For A While. If They Had The Money, They Would Like To Build A Stadium For The New Mexico United, How Crazy The Support Is, And How Much We Needed A Shot In The Arm Given Everything Else That Is Going On. They Do Get Something In The Process, They Get The Practice Facility That Is Also A Community Facility.

I Am Not Sure Everything In The Package Can Be Considered Sports Related But I Think It Is An Opportunity They Saw Like A Window Where They Can Add Some Huge Stimulus And I Don’t Think Anybody In The Larger Business Community, People Who Build Stuff, Are Going To Scream About It. The Construction Industry, The Commercial Real Estate, All Those Folks Say, Hey, Mum Is The Word. If They Are Going To Build It, Like, Our Guys Can Work And It’s Great For The Economy. I Don’t Think They Are Going To Scream About It. Let’s Talk About This Idea Of Sports Tourism In The Whole.

Is It A Trojan Horse? You Can’t Really See Much In This List Like I Read In The Beginning Of The Segment That Impacts Tourism. I Can’t See People Saying, Oh, That Connected Trail Between Downtown, Let’s Get On A Plane, Honey. And Let’s Spend Five Grand To Go To Albuquerque For That Connected Trail. It Seems Like An Awfully Big Bucket Using That Word, You Know What I Mean?

This, Tourism Things.  It Is Really Interesting. I Think One Factor That May Be At Play Here, As Eric Said, There Is This Huge Excitement Around The United In New Mexico Right Now. And, I Think That That May Be Inspiring Desire To Do More In Sports. It Doesn’t Seem Like We Are At The Place Where We Would Be Able To Talk About A Stadium Yet And When You Have Those Discussions, They Get Very Complicated, That Discussion Of Putting Public Money Into A Major Stadium, That Is A Tough One. Not Everyone Is Into Soccer But Everyone Is Paying In So It Gets Tricky.

Mary, Sports Tourism. Do You Hear Tourism When You Read This List? Do You Feel Like There Is Something Out There To Get People On Airplanes?

I Thought Of Tourism When I Read The Story But More In The Context Of Could Albuquerque Swing This? Could Albuquerque, You Know, Like Eric Was Saying, And You Were Saying, I Don’t Know, I Feel Like Albuquerque Has Not Really Arrived As A City For Sports, As A Sports Destination. It Is A Big Leap But There Is Obviously Some People Who Think This Is What The City Needs To Be. It Is Interesting. I Am Reading This Thing Here, Serge, The Idea That The National Senior Games Were A Big Hit Here, Right?

Hitching This Whole Thing And That Is Great, I Am Glad That Worked Out But I Still Don’t See How That Means Sports Tourism Is A Thing Here. Because That Was Not A Tourist Thing. That Was An Event That Was Brought Here. If This Is What They Really Mean, We Need More Events Like The Senior Games, That Is One Thing, But How Did You Get Into Tourism And That Is Another Deal Altogether. I Am No Stronger To Loosely Fitting Things Into A Category But Tourism Doesn’t Have To Mean Hop On A Plane And Come To The Sunport, Right?

We Want Someone To Come From Rio Rancho And Spend Money Or Spend A Day On The Connector Trail Or Whatever. So, I Am A Little Bit More Forgiving Than You Are. Is This Participation Versus Tourism? I Don’t Know What Tourism Means Necessarily. They Are Not Staying In Hotels. I Think We Are Getting Hung Up Tourism.

What They Maybe Should Have Said Or Are Trying To Say, We Can Bring In Sports Events Which Will Help The Economy And Lodgers Are Saying, Other Than Senior Games, Are You Going To Bring In Big Tournaments. This Will Likely Bring All Sorts Of Collegiate Level, Maybe, Amateur Level Events, If We Have A Better Sports Infrastructure. And It Is Kind Of A Messaging Issue. It Is Not Like, Hey, Albuquerque Is The Place Because I Am A Sports Fanatic. We Are Going To Hold Our Little League Tournament, Our Soccer Tournament, City Games.

Albuquerque Pulled Off A Really Pretty Impressive Event Last Year, Like, Maybe They Have Got A Practice Field For Soccer, Maybe We Want To Have Our National, International Event There. I Think That Is What This Is Supposed To Say. I Am Not Sure That Is What Is Conveyed, Right? But, I Think, You Know, I Am A Big Fan Of United As Well. I Am Hoping We Can Do Something To Capitalize And Maintain That. I Don’t Know If This Is The Only Way.

Rachel, Any Hit From The Mayor Or The Lodgers Folks On This? He’s Kind Of Sideways With Them Right Now.  I Think He Is. With The Time Frame Even, How Would You Get Them Together For A Meeting Now Before The Vote. That Is A Tough One. Let’s See What Happens There.

We Are Up Against The Clock, Have To Leave It There. When This Group Comes Back, How Many Times Should New Mexico Let Law Enforcement Officers Get Hired After They Have Been Fired Somewhere Else?

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