Albuquerque’s Westside, between its tract-home neighborhoods and chain restaurants, isn’t known as a hotspot for activities or a destination for sports. In fact, for many “eastsiders,” crossing the river from east to west is akin to a long family “Are we there yet?”-type road trip. All of that, however, may change with the planned development of a major indoor sports complex on the west side of town. The Q Sports Arena, as it will be called, is the brainchild of local businessman, attorney and land developer Josh Skarsgard and is scheduled to begin development in March at the Coors Pavilion Shopping Center, just west of St. Pius High School.
When it finally opens in July, the 45,000-square-foot complex will occupy six acres of space and house various sport arenas including an indoor soccer field, four indoor futsal soccer courts, four basketball courts, eight volleyball courts and a fitness center. The arena will also include a covered outdoor section with four sand volleyball courts and a turf field complete with lighting. “The multi-sport indoor and outdoor facility is long overdue for the west Albuquerque community,” Skarsgard said in an interview with the Albuquerque Journal. Skarsgard is currently pursuing financing through local lenders as well as additional financial assistance through the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA). The LEDA, as it’s defined on the Economic Development Department website, is meant to allow municipalities and counties to enter into Joint Power Agreements and support regional economic development projects including, among other things, projects that will act as a job creators.
The Q Arena, however, is not the first or only indoor sporting complex planned for Albuquerque’s Westside. “The Westside has been thinking about an indoor sports complex for quite some time”, said District One City Councilwoman, Lan Sena. “The late Councilor Ken Sanchez had the idea previously, because he knew what the indoor sportsplex could mean to Albuquerque.” Indeed, the idea for a major indoor sports complex was first proposed by the late councilman as far back as 2011, with plans to be even larger than the Q Arena.
Fast forward to 2019 and the plan has gone even further, says Sena. The mayor has recommended an additional $2.5 million, subject to City Council approval, be included in a package of GO bonds on the ballot for voter approval this November. Sena says that would bring the funding total to $5 million to date, with another $10 million possible in future years. When asked if the Q Arena might conflict with the continued development of Ken Sanchez’ idea for an indoor sports complex, Councilwoman Sena did not believe so. “I’m so glad that the business community and former sports stars are thinking about this. It could really help our economy in a post-COVID world. I’m excited that we’re thinking the same thing and that we all want what’s best for our community.”
Having no major venue to host national and international sporting tournaments in Albuquerque was seen as a missed opportunity by the late Counselor Sanchez. Not only will this project bring about jobs, but such a space could provide ancillary support to the surrounding areas through the development of restaurants, hotels and other support industries. The much-needed additional jobs and revenue streams flowing through Albuquerque as a result of available sport arenas is a positive sign of continued growth and recovery, despite the pandemic.
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