The Rio Grande Nursery is a place where the City of Albuquerque grows trees for its parks, but for the last two years, neighbors say the city has also been using it as a dump and they’re fed up.
Cathy Hogan and Sandra Raun are not the only neighbors who live in the North Valley and love walking along a ditch back that runs behind the nursery. The nursery is located on Rio Grande just north of Candelaria.
“It’s really popular,” Raun said. “People out here with their dog and their kids.”
The city’s park superintendent, Mark Chavez, said a majority of the property is used to grow different types of trees.
“That’s where we try new trees where we want to experiment possibly in parks,” he said.
He said a portion of the land is also used to store landscaping material including soil and wood chips, but that’s not all.
“There’s someone’s old tent. A car seat, a couple shopping carts,” Hogan said. “It’s a terrible eyesore when you’re out here trying to enjoy nature.”
Hogan said for at least two years, the city has been using part of the property as a dumping site.
Most of what you’ll find piled up there is hauled away from different parks all across town. The city said crews will pick up the items and store them here temporarily.
Chavez said it’s a convenient spot for park crews.
“We’ll take it there and then when we have enough for a large truck, we’ll haul it out to the dump,” he said. “It really wouldn’t be cost effective to go to the dump every time we clean up a park, so we pick it up in larger trucks and haul it to the dump from there.”
Neighbors, however, argue the piles never seem to get any smaller.
“Since February we’ve made five phone calls to 311 about his trash and fire hazard,” Raun said.
Neighbors said the nursery was never intended for this and they want the trash gone for good.
“Straighten this out and make this a healthy, sustainable area again that’s enjoyable to go by,” Hogan said.
Chavez said the city’s been working for the last two months to sort through what is trash and what can be recycled. He said they hope to have it cleaned up within the next month.
According to the city, it’s been looking at other properties where they can store some of those items.