Wednesday, October 4, 2023

‘ACE’ Center earmarked for Jones parcel

Anderson parcel to be used for parking, Grower's Market


Editor's Note: The story has been updated to reflect that the proposed ACE facility would be built on what used to be the Jones family property, which is contiguous to the Anderson parcel. A parking lot serving that facility and a possible new location for the Corrales Grower's Market would take up most of the Anderson property.

The long awaited, much anticipated Arts, Community and Education (ACE) Center in Corrales may not be too far away.

Village Administrator Ron Curry said that if everything works out right, the multi-use building could open in 2025 on the recently acquired Jones and Anderson properties. Part of it depends on the success of a non-profit Friends of the Arts, Community and Education, or FACE. The yet-to-be formed 501(c)(3) would work to solicit private funding for what is expected to be an $8 million project.

“Theoretically, if we get money from the state legislature, from Representative Stansbury, from FACE, if all of those things came through, we possibly could break ground on it in a year,” Curry said.

He added that the building would take about a year to construct, meaning the village could have a community center featuring a performing arts place in just two years’ time.

Fahey said public meetings and candidate forums could be held there; space could be used for displays and to showcase art; and meeting rooms could be used for educational activities.

The auditorium could also host concerts and many Corralenos hope it could attract the Adobe Theater back to Corrales. The theater used to hold its performances at the old San Ysidro Church.

Mayor Jim Fahey is determined the ACE Center gets built, and he did not contradict Curry’s timeline.

“We will get this thing done,” he said. “I’m hoping, quick.”

Fahey said the village considered taking out a loan through the state Department of Finance and Administration. The interest rate on the loan would be about 3.8% over 30 years. And the village would have to be able to identify a recurring source of income to ensure the loan gets paid off.

“That’s not our first choice,” Fahey said. “We could borrow, but we rather not have to pay it back.”

The village has already sunk about $1.8 million into two properties that connect to the village facilities, Curry said. The village bought the Anderson property last year for $472,000; another $728,000 went to the purchase several years ago of the land and home on the Jones property behind it, now utilized by Public Works; and $210,000 was spent on demolishing the home, which required asbestos removal. In addition, the village spent $400,000 on initial design documents for the ACE Center.

Under the design, most of the facility would be built on what used  the Jones property. A public parking lot serving the facility and the business district would be located on the Anderson land. There is also talk of utilizing the lot for the Grower's Market.

Fahey said the village also has $365,000 that could be spent on software that would create a digital display of the proposed building and allow users to take a virtual tour of the building.

“We can do that with cash on hand. We can do that two weeks from now,” he said. “Then, we can take those plans and shop them around to other organizations.”

But there’s a problem. As a municipality, the village is prohibited from soliciting private funding on its own. That’s what FACE would do.

“It would be like Friends of the Library, a fundraising arm,” he said.

As with the Gonzales property, the final decision on what the ACE Center will eventually become will be determined by the village council. But their decision will be informed by recommendations from an advisory committee.

At Tuesday’s (Aug. 22) village council meeting, the governing body approved the appointment of nine people to what they’re calling the “Multi-Use Center Planning Committee” on a split vote.

Fahey said the committee will serve as an ad hoc group and pick up where a previous committee left off. The resolution forming the committee says it will be asked to “refine” the conceptual plan developed by a previous committee.

“They’ll get six months, then it’s over,” the mayor said. “They’ll look at the design of the structure and finish up the fine tuning.”

At that point, the village would advertise for an architect to draw up the blueprints.

Fahey said couldn’t say exactly how much money FACE would have to raise to cover the funding. That depends on how much capital outlay they get from the state legislature next year and whatever Rep. Stansbury can help swing their way.

It doesn’t hurt that Stansbury spent a chunk of her childhood in Corrales.

“We’ll see if she can help us get the larger bucks,” he said.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here