ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque’s Parks and Recreation Department gave insight into its Wells Park expansion project. They said they might hold a ground-breaking ceremony in the summer, but it’s still up in the air for now.
“We are trying to do big things for our community, make big positive changes, and large park projects like this are very popular, but investing like this in our community and parks and open spaces is one of the smartest things we can do for our city,” said Parks and Rec. Director Dave Simon.
More than two years ago, the city proposed four concepts for the expansion project. Director Simon said, after listening to public comments, the city wanted to incorporate as much of each concept into their final plan. That includes multi-use courts for sports like pickleball and basketball, a promenade with shade structures, a dog park, a food truck plaza, and a playground.
“I think anything you add, parks and physical facilities for people to get active, is going to benefit everybody,” said Albuquerque park-goer, Pete MacFarlane.
While some people welcome the idea of a park expansion, others said they fear the new park could attract the wrong crowd.
“If they want to make it a park, that would be great as long as there are activities there – good activities that keep the youth and the neighborhood engaged. I don’t want to see it be a homeless camp,” said one Albuquerque resident.
Simon was asked about the topic of homelessness, “I’m not here to talk to you about the homeless.” He explained the city has increased its security efforts at Wells Park and will continue to do so with the expansion.
With the park expansion, the city plans to get rid of Rosemont Avenue between 5th and 6th streets to connect the two plots of land. The city said the $5 million project could take around nine months.
The city bought that land, known as the Walker Property, a few years ago, but that square city block next to Wells Park has been nothing but dirt for 16 years. A total of 22 homes and buildings, all vacant, were boarded up after the elderly landlord could no longer care for her investment properties. The city finally went in and razed it all in 2007 as part of its ramped-up nuisance abatement program.