ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – “It’s a bad idea; it’s a dumb idea,” says Bill Sabatini. He has strong feelings about the idea of a Solid Waste Transfer Station near his home by the Big I. “It’s just totally inappropriate for here.”
The City of Albuquerque says they bought the property at the corner of Menaul and I-25 late last year. There is no official plan in place as of yet, but the city’s Solid Waste Department says they hope to make that lot a transfer station in the future, where garbage trucks would bring their loads for processing.
The city says the central location makes it ideal, but Sabatini worries about what the trash could bring with it. “We know it’s not going to smell – they have figured out ways to do that – but the amount of traffic, truck traffic, from the entire east side of the city to that location is ungodly,” he says.
There are concerns about the school, businesses, and hotels just across the street. As well as the cemetery next door. “Every 30 seconds, a truck coming down Menaul and people having their funeral services at the Sunset Memorial with all that noise,” said Loretta Naranjo Lopez, the President of the local neighborhood association.
The possible environmental impact also has the neighborhood on edge. Naranjo Lopez says they could see an increase in health conditions, like Asthma. “We’re already dealing with the freeway. We have done a health impact statement study and it says 10 miles out, the impact to our health is bad from the freeway. Anything added to it is just going to be a catastrophe,” she says.
The Martineztown neighborhood is already fighting off a city-sanctioned homeless camp on the very same property where this transfer station would go. They say both would be a huge setback to their goals for improving the area.
For now, they are urging the city to trash the idea of a transfer station. “There could be a lot of things that happen here that could be much more beneficial. One idea, for instance, is this would be a great location for either a history museum or some kind of education center,” Sabatini said.
The city told Councilor Isaac Benton’s Office, who told residents in an email, a study identified this spot as a top location. The email also says it would not be an easy process. In order for a transfer station to be built here, zoning would need to be changed. According to that email, the city says they are already in the process of filing for a change of zoning.