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Saving UNM’s public park

March 20, 2007

Rep. Danice Picraux (D), District 25, introduced House Memorial 23, UNM “North Golf Course” Legislation:

A MEMORIAL REQUESTING THAT THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO BECOME AN ADVOCATE FOR THE DEDICATION OF PROPERTY KNOWN AS THE “NORTH GOLF COURSE” AS PERMANENT UNIVERSITY URBAN GREEN SPACE.

Why should the University preserve the golf course? According to the Memorial:

. . .the university of New Mexico received the land for the north golf course for one dollar ($1.00);. . .all of the trees on the north golf course were given by neighbors who allowed them to be dug out of their yards and transplanted to the golf course;. . .the north golf course is the largest green space in the center of Albuquerque, which also serves the city by reducing the urban heat island effect;. . .the trees protect the campus and surrounding area from the pollutants vehicles emit on the state’s two largest interstates;. . .the north golf course is a revenue-generating part of the university of New Mexico’s athletics program;. . .encouraging healthy lifestyles and exercise is an inexpensive way to improve the health of Albuquerque residents;. . . .

Interesting. That’s a lot of acres for a buck. The residents farmed the trees canopying over the course? Impressive. Encouraging healthy lifestyles and exercise, ok.

Memorial 23 was signed by the House and presumably forwarded to UNM and City honchos. Will it convince UNM to preserve the golf course? Probably not. If the University has to expand the size of its plant, expect little hesitation from the school to utilize the property it already owns—this includes all of its real property, not just the North Golf Course. If the University decides it needs to use the land the golf course sits on for something else, well, this document sure isn’t going to stop them. (It would be an unpopular move, but UNM isn’t running for ‘Class President.’)

A solution? I don’t know. The State—if it really doesn’t want UNM to build on the course—should find some suitable land and give it to the University. Maybe buy back the course (for more than a dollar) and instruct the school to use the proceeds to secure property adjacent to the University.

The North Golf Course is a wonderful urban oasis, but the University is growing. Something or someone at some point has to give. And there will be tears.

Stifling the University’s growth would be a mistake. However, growing in the right direction is important, so who knows, maybe preserving the course is the right thing to do.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. El Capitan permalink
    March 23, 2007 9:56 am

    Actually not sure if its factual but the University apparently said that they were’nt interested in developing north golf course, but rather the property to the north of the golf course which they own as well (north of indian school).

  2. El Orange permalink
    March 23, 2007 2:10 pm

    El Capitan, I think you’re correct. Last I heard the University isn’t going forward with the retirement community, but who really knows? The dirt now in question is East of University and South of Indian School–but I could very likely be mistaken. When the development was originally pitched it sounded as if the University planned on building the retirement community around the course–the links weaving through the structures.

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