LOS LUNAS — In the Los Lunas interim budget, the village council allotted $1.6 million to add turf to the fields at the Los Lunas Sports Complex and thousands of dollars for village parks and recreation this year.
In addition to the turf, lighting will also be installed around the baseball fields, funded through $400,000 in capital outlay funds from the state. An expansion to the community center at Daniel Fernandez park, a proposed new aquatic center and expansions and improvements to the bosque trail system are also on the horizon.
“It’s growing over time. It’s taken a while to get us to this point, but we’re happy it’s being built out,” Los Lunas Parks and Recreation director Jason Duran said about the additions to the sports complex during a Facebook Live announcement on May 21.
The two baseball fields and a multipurpose soccer/ football field, which were previously laden with grass, will be converted to turf by the end of the year, Duran estimates.
The baseball fields will be regulation size, with the ability to be sized down to accommodate for softball and Little League.
“That was one of the goals for this complex is to make sure that it was a multiuse for the entire community, not just baseball,” he said.
Duran added that the park’s water use would be cut by a third with the new addition of the turf since they no longer would have to maintain grass in those areas.
The parks and recreation team also expressed excitement for the adjoined special event area, which they hope will host the village’s Fourth of July festivities this year since the celebration has outgrown Daniel Fernandez Memorial Park.
The park will also begin to see some expansions and improvements this year. During last Friday’s Live stream, the parks and recreation division announced an expansion to the community center and the beginning phases to an aquatic center.
The community center expansion, funded by both village and state capital outlay funds, will include the addition of a new gymnasium as well as more space for after-school and summer recreation programs.
“Now we have more practice time for our volleyball league, more practice time for the youth basketball league,” Duran said. “Our summer rec can expand, our after-school program can expand because we are also adding some program rooms which we have never had. This is huge for us.”
According to Duran, the first gym was built around 1994 with an expansion in the mid-2000s to add a lobby and fitness center making this expansion a “long time coming.” They anticipate the expansion to be completed within the next year to year and a half.
The highly-anticipated splash pad located at the park will also see its first users during Memorial Day weekend, although with capacity restrictions and required reservations.
Construction on the splash pad was completed during spring of the 2020, but saw none of the summertime fun because of restrictions on large gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Next to a splash pad, the village is planning for an aquatic center with the groundwork planning funded through $150,000 in state capital outlay dollars. The multi-million dollar project is still a ways down the road for the village, however, and will be a part of a future expansion.
The village parks and recreation division is also excited for expansions and improvements to the trail system along the bosque at River Park. Duran said the village plans on adding wooden viewing docks of the Rio Grande, similar to those seen at the bosque in Albuquerque.
“We are excited to expand that and clean up the river, as those trails come in, but also give you some viewing areas,” Duran said.
They are also planning on expanding trails to the newly redone bridge across the Rio Grande in Los Lunas. The project is funded by $225,000 in capital outlay funds from the state with construction beginning within the next year.
“Really, these projects are for you,” Duran said to the community. “You guys are the one to make these projects happen. I want to thank you, the community, most of all. You guys make all this possible.”
Makayla Grijalva was born and raised in Las Cruces. She is a 2020 graduate of The University of New Mexico, where she studied multimedia journalism, political science and history. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, SODA and the town of Peralta.