With the horse racing and casino company relocating to Moriarity, the State and Expo NM has requested that we respond with ideas for how to fill the new hole in Expo NM's budget (~$2M). As a local I felt obligated to respond.
I proposed that a portion of the land be utilized as urban farm for the purpose of education, food security, and a place for the local community to gather. It's the perfect location for a demonstrative organic program to have a statewide reach. I also combined a Central Market concept that was originated by the City's own John O'Connell. This would certainly be a complimentary to an urban farm and the State Fair.
A Central Market could be compared to the Boston or Seattle Fish Market. It's a distribution center for wholesale and retail for New Mexican produce and food products. It's also much more. It would be a year-round destination that would help keep our food dollars here in New Mexico. It would drive more local agriculture so that less of our food is imported. Only a share of a multi-billion dollar market is produced here.
If you see that big empty hole in the middle of this image, you might be able to conceptualize how a farm might fit. So where would everyone park during the fair? The City might consider a transportation depot to promote alternative modes of transportation and a parking structure that can utilize a smaller footprint on the property and provide better disability access for large events such as the State Fair.
Many people might ask where the water will come from because acequias are out of the question. A drip irrigation system could be utilized for nearly the same amount of water that is currently sprayed on the racing surface between races. Please review my full response
to the RFI.
Oh, and if Expo NM needs an immediate way to fill the gap they should consider charging for parking or a slight increase on ticket cost. With 700,000 visitors to the State Fair, it wouldn't take long to fill that void if they were in a pinch.