It’s one of the city’s most heavily used parks but some are wondering why there’s no dedicated parking lot for it.
Increasingly, parents are running into a difficult drive while going to Universe Sports Park in northwest Albuquerque near Universe and Irving.
While the park and its three soccer fields have been open for used behind CNM’s west side campus for at least a decade, the park remains surrounded by dirt roads and very little pavement.
“They do a great job of maintaining it, things of that nature, it’s just not as easy to access,” said Don Thompson, an Albuquerque parent who visits the fields every week for his son’s soccer league.
The soccer field’s only paved parking lot is tied in with CNM’s campus on the far east side of the fields. Some field users face a nearly quarter-mile walk from the parking lot to the park’s furthest field.
“That’s still a trek to come up to this field,” said Cameron King, a soccer coach who used to haul his soccer gear through the entire park. “It was so hard just to get all this stuff here.”
Neighbors say the paved lot is not always an option, either. Sometimes CNM closes the gates to its campus and parking lot, meaning drivers are forced to park in the dirt around the fields.
“I’ve taken my car around here many times and it’s not suited for that kind of drive, it’s pretty rough and tumble,” said Russ Kearns, a neighbor who visits the park to walk his dog.
While the City of Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department maintains the park grounds and APS owns the fields, CNM owns the area around the fields.
KRQE News 13 asked CNM if there were any plans to improve the area around the park, however, a spokesman for CNM said they were unaware of any issues around the park.
“It’s like I had to go through a desert land literally just to get over here,” said Cameron King, referring to his drive over the bumpy dirt roads.
A spokesman for CNM said the college would “look into” issues along the property around the park.
A spokesman for the City of Albuquerque’s Parks and Recreation Department told KRQE News 13 that it was aware of the dirt parking around the fields and said people should be parking in the paved lot, then walking on to the fields.