Neighbor appeals proposed community center

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) - People in a neighborhood near Tramway and Central are appealing a proposed 15,000 square foot community center near the east end of Singing Arrow Park.

"The majority of us think that it's not the best use of city money," neighbor Jan Bond said. "We just don't feel like there's a need for a community center this close to where one already exists."

There's already a center on the west side of the park and another at Monzano Mesa, less than two miles away.

City sketches show the proposed center would be complete with gaming and fitness rooms, classrooms, crafts and meeting space.

The city has said there's a need for it based on a 2013 study and because the current center on the west end of the park isn't big enough to fill a gap in services.

"The facility is undersized and we think that there are additional services that can be offered to this local neighborhood," neighborhood association president Mark Burton said in 2017.

However, many neighbors don't want a new community center, saying the neighborhood's needs have changed since that study was done.

One woman filed an appeal, claiming the extra foot traffic by the homeless and others would lead to increased crime; it's too close to homes; and they don't want to lose their green space.

"It's a conditional use approval and so an applicant needs to prove to a hearing officer that the use that they're proposing essentially will not be injurious to the surrounding area," Deputy Planning Director Brennon Williams said about the upcoming March 20 hearing on the matter. 

The city has said it would create a task force to address the homeless problem in the area. 

Voters approved GO funds in 2011 and 2013 for the community center. The state is also providing state capital outlay funding.

Neighbors said a better alternative to the new space would be renovating the community center that already exists on the other side of the park.    

The public will be able to weigh in at the land use hearing next week. The hearing officer will then make a recommendation to city council of whether the appeal should be upheld.


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