ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city of Albuquerque closed the long-time problematic Coronado Park Wednesday after years of issues including a murder last week. The park’s closure brought a sense of relief and hope to the area around Coronado park. Just five blocks away from the park, nobody is celebrating.
For 7 years Coronado Park was an unofficial homeless camp. When the city closed it today, nearby business owners were relieved. “I can’t even explain how happy I am. It’s just been, we’ve been, when I first spoke out, there was a lot of repercussions. And somebody had to say something. Somebody had to say, Hey, this is a serious issue, and it needs attention,” said Denisc Baker, owner of Rio Bravo Brewing Company, which is not even 500 feet from the park.
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She says the last year and half has been hard. “I think it wasn’t just the homeless anymore. It was the drug dealers and the criminals and people who are preying on them and using them for their own benefit.”
Five blocks away, in a neighborhood off Broadway and Hannett, a new problem emerged. Two hours after the city shut down Coronado Park, many of the homeless showed up in Martinez Town park.
Darryl Lucero, who lives across from the Martinez Town Park, says “You can’t just close one park and expect them to go away. And they’re going to come to this park and they’re going to go to the next park, under bridges, whatever.”
The park is just 30 feet away from an elementary school bus stop. Neighbors here are furious. “There is a lot of children. There’s a bus stop, school. Get the kids get, picked up here for elementary and junior high and high school right up the street, of course,” said Lucero.
At the overpass at 1st and Arvada, a large group known to stay there overnight is now bigger. People in the area are asking the city and Mayor Keller to step up before a new ‘Coronado Park’ pops up here.
“Any place they can squat, they’re gonna squat. And there is a problem with that needs to be resolved by the city,” said Lucero.
The city still encourages those who do notice homeless camps at parks to call 311 or report it to police.