ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The living dead are said to walk the grounds of the old Sandia Ranch in Albuquerque's North Valley.
Every year people sneak on to the property, especially around Halloween, to get spooked. But residents say there's something scarier that lurks the land.
The 17 acres used to house tuberculosis patients and later was a hospital for the mentally ill. Residents say for that reason, people illegally trespass
"A lot of the treatment was regarding lobotomy and water treatment, things we consider very archaic now," said Linda Trujillo, president of the Northeast Valley Neighborhood Association. "So there's that type of sensationalism that seems very attractive to a younger generation."
The old dilapidated buildings also attract drug dealers and the homeless who illegally trespass. And they bring with them crime and huge safety concerns.
"There's been several fires and I think one or two murders as well," said Trujillo.
The buildings now have collapsing roofs and walls. Graffiti taggers have left their mark everywhere. Last week, the Bernalillo County Zoning, Building and Planning Department posted the property substandard.
The owner, David Gonzales, has said he wanted to bury the real dead on the land. In mid-2000s the County Planning Commission approved his special use permit to allow a cemetery on the property. Neighbors protested the plan all the way to District Court.
But in the end, they lost the fight. In 2009, the commission upheld the plan. Back then, Gonzales thought the issue was over.
"I'm happy. It's been a long battle, and it's over," Gonzales said in 2007. "Everybody can put it to rest, and we can move on."
But nobody has moved on, which upsets the North Valley residents.
The county has extended Gonzales special use permit every year since 2009 even though he hasn't moved forward with the cemetery plan.
"Because of the way the economy is, we want to encourage development," Said Nano Chavez, the Bernalillo County Zoning, Building and Planning director. "When the economy gets better and there still isn't any activity, then we'll start pursuing 'what is your intent?'.
The owner is required to make the building safe in the next 30 days or they must be torn down.
KRQE News 13 caught up to Gonzales at his auto repair shop down the street from the Sandia Ranch. He wouldn't say what he plans are for the troubled property.
"I have no idea," he repeatedly answered when asked about if he has plans for the land or if he will tear down the buildings.
Chavez says the buildings are in such bad shape, they will probably need to be torn down. Neighbors are pleased that would put a halt to the hauntings.
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