The 300-plus acres of property known as the Santa Fe Downs is about to get a major makeover. That's because the Pueblo of Pojoaque Development Corporation (PPDC) is now soliciting bids for a comprehensive land use plan for the site, designed to repurpose and revitalize the area.
"This large tract of land is currently underutilized, yet it's a valuable economic asset to the community," according to Christine Gabaldon, Director of Marketing for the Pueblo of Pojoaque and Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino. "The time is right to plan for its successful future."
The extensive property has a long and storied history in the area, according to Pueblo officials. Located in (N/S/E/W) Santa Fe along Interstate 25, Santa Fe Downs opened as a horse race track in 1971 and operated continuously as a favorite regional destination for a quarter century. In 1996, the property was purchased by the Pueblo of Pojoaque, continuing operation of the race track for another year and closing the gates in 1997. Since that time, the Pueblo has continued to use the property for various public events.
In 2016, the entire 323-acre parcel was placed into federal trust for the Pueblo by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and in 2017, the land was formally added to the Pueblo of Pojoaque land base.
Gabaldon said that in soliciting a land use plan for the area, the Pueblo does not intend to continue horse racing or related activities at the property.
"Our goal is to develop the property for the benefit of the Pueblo and the surrounding community," Gabaldon added. "We envision a land use plan that will fully integrate our natural resources and unique landscape, and protect our cultural values and heritage."
The land use plan will incorporate potential residential and commercial viability, optimal water, air, waste and landscaping recommendations, utilities, transportation, community development, design and architectural elements, how the development will impact and integrate with surrounding communities and more, and will also include demolition plans for the current Santa Fe Downs structures.
"This is an extraordinary time for the Pueblo," Gabaldon said. "We are excited to see what the future holds for this land."