ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Mayor Tim Keller announced on Monday that Coronado Park near 3rd St. and I-40 had gotten so out of control with drug use and crime that he has decided to close it. Despite several complaints from neighbors over the years, the city has said in the past that they preferred having a concentration of homeless encampments in one area, out of the way from populated areas such as neighborhoods to better provide services for those experiencing homelessness.
The city is now saying enough is enough, citing the increase in drug use, crime, and damage to the park’s irrigation system. After the announcement to close the park in August, nearby businesses say they want to know if the homeless will be setting up camp on their doorsteps.
“I think the big concern is that the city doesn’t have a plan for closing Coronado park. You know where they’re gonna go? There’s a lot of empty parking lots and fields that I think will start setting up encampments and deter people from coming downtown.” said one local business spokesperson.
Mayor Keller’s office says they also allowed the park’s condition to reach its current status due to the pandemic hoping to minimize the spread of COVID following CDC guidance, but now with the closure, the city couldn’t say where the homeless will be going — except to say they will step up patrols in the wells park area where a community park is set to open.
As for the future of Coronado Park… the city says it could be opened up back to the public as a park, developed into something else or it could become the site for a pilot outdoor space for the homeless. There’s no timeline for when the city could make a decision on the park’s future.