New park fast-tracked to be ready for Balloon Fiesta

Posted at: 08/14/2014 5:43 PM
Updated at: 08/14/2014 5:51 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Workers are going full speed ahead to finish Albuquerque's newest city park in time for the Balloon Fiesta – that's because the park will play a crucial role for the balloons this year and for many years to come.

Vista del Norte Park will not only be a park, but will double as a landing field for balloons as well.

A few weeks ago, it was just a vacant lot in the desert near Osuna and Jefferson. Now the place is crawling with city workers and contractor construction crews.

They're leveling ground, laying sod, and working wonders with slabs of colored concrete.

"This is going to the plaza area for the new balloon park," said city Municipal Development worker John Lucero, showing off the plans for the circular concrete pads on the west side of the park.

"They want to make it look like the top view of balloons while they're flying over," Lucero said.

"It's a challenge to do the forming, the pour and the colored concrete, but it's coming along and we're right on schedule," said Paul Gonzales from the same work crew.

The new grass is where balloons will hit the ground, though hopefully not too hard. The concrete plaza is for the chase crews.

This is phase one of the park project. More of the 22-acre site will be developed in phase two.

The price tag to design and build phase one is $1.7 million. The project is scheduled to be completed in December, but the real goal is to have it ready to go by October, when the balloons arrive.