City Council Passes Resolution To Relocate State Capitol To The Española Valley

Capitol moving story

Española City Council Passes Resolution To Relocate State Capitol To The Española Valley


ESPAÑOLA – In a surprise move at last night’s City Council meeting the Española City Council adopted a resolution calling on the State of New Mexico to relocate the State Capitol building to the Española area.

As many readers are aware the original capital city for New Mexico was established in 1598 just outside modern day Española and near modern Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. New Mexico’s first Spanish Governor, Don Juan de Oñate chose this area to be the seat of the province’s government and named the new capital city San Juan de los Caballeros. The settlement  remained the capital of New Mexico until 1607 when New Mexico’s second Spanish governor, Don Pedro de Peralta  moved the seat of government to a community  he called La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís, currently known as the City of Santa Fe.

On Tuesday night the City Council of Española decided enough is enough and it is time to move the capital back to its rightful place in the Española Valley.

Any change to the seat of state government will require legislative action. When contacted about the city council’s action, members of the legislature who represent the Española Valley spoke enthusiastically about sponsoring legislation to make this move happen.

One senior member of the House of Representatives voiced concern about securing the Governor’s support for the proposal.

Following up on that concern, reporters for the Valley Daily Post contacted the Governor’s office this morning to inquire if the Governor would support returning the capital to the Española area. In an unexpectedly rapid response,  the Governor’s chief of staff returned the reporter’s call in less than an hour and said the Governor herself has for some time been contemplating action to move the capital out of Santa Fe but her personal choice was to relocate it to Hobbs.

Whether Hobbs or Española, it appears that there is strong motivation to move state government out of Santa Fe. Final site locations will probably be influenced by budgetary factors such as the cost of relocating the Roundhouse to the new site. Española is 26 miles from the current location of the capitol building, compared to the 307 miles between Santa Fe and Hobbs, making it the most cost effective choice.

Once the capitol building has been relocated, there will be a large amount of vacant land available in downtown Santa Fe. Developers are sure to be interested in building on that prime piece of real estate but before they do so they may have to fight some other parties for rights to the land.  The Valley Daily Post has recently discovered that members of the New Mexico Congressional delegation are proposing legislation in Congress to create a western U.S. capital and locate it on the soon-to-be former site of the Roundhouse in Santa Fe.

Happy April 1st everyone!