ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Amid calls to remove statues tied to controversial New Mexican historical figures, Albuquerque is revamping its process for renaming city parks. Parks and Recreation Director David Simon says the city is preparing to add more options for public feedback on renaming discussions as it expects an increase in the number of petitions asking for change.
“We’re committed to an open transparent process that invites and respects public input,” Simon said. “We look forward to the community dialogue.”
The City of Albuquerque has a handful of parks named after conquistadors, pioneers and European explorers. Recently, a petition was submitted to the city, requesting the renaming of five parks including Alvarado Park near Indian School and San Mateo; Juan de Oñate Park near Menual and Tramway; Coronado Park near 2nd Street and I-40; Columbus Park near Montaño and Rio Grande; and Kit Carson Park near Tingley Beach.
For years, city park renaming requests have been submitted to and reviewed by the citizen-lead “Metropolitan Parks and Recreation Parks Advisory Board.” In early 2013, the board formalized the renaming process through a submission form that calls for the board to consider, “all suggestions and requests from individuals, neighborhood associations, the Parks and Recreation Department or other groups for naming of specific parks.”
With recent protest in mind, city parks say it wants to broaden the renaming consideration process to include more feedback. The Parks and Recreation Department is looking at adding larger public meetings, even neighborhood associations forums to address options about possible name changes. They’re also considering starting public surveys to address park renaming requests.
“We want to listen closely to the community at this very important time in our history,” said Simon. “I think it’s a really good sign that out of almost 300 parks in our city, only a handful have really come up right now as being sensitive.”
The city parks advisory board’s current park renaming policy says it is not a standard practice to name a park after a person. The policy also states, “parks named after an individual should not be considered for a change in name, except in compelling circumstances supported by overwhelming public interest.”
The process to request renaming for a park is posted on the city’s website. Petitioners are required to fill out a form, then attach it in an email to the Metropolitan Parks and Recreation Parks Advisory Board at MPRAB@cabq.gov.
For more information visit https://www.cabq.gov/parksandrecreation/our-department/boards-commissions/metropolitan-parks-recreation-advisory-board. The information about park renaming is written in a sidebar on the right portion of the website.