SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A former city councilor is calling out the City of Santa Fe for what he describes as embarrassing conditions at his local park.
It’s a place where children play, but locals say if you spend enough time in Franklin E. Miles Park in Santa Fe, you’ll come across something disturbing.
“Here’s something gross, a condom,” says Ronald Trujillo.
“The chances of us finding a needle are extremely high,” Trujillo says.
Trujillo was the city councilor for this district for 12 years. He says in 2008, the city spent $2.5 million to spruce up the park. But recently, weeds, graffiti and hypodermic needles have taken over.
“We’re the capital city of the state of New Mexico, yet we don’t look like the capital city,” Trujillo says.
Some residents say they avoid the park even though it’s right around the corner.
“At this point in time, when I take my grandchildren to the park I prefer to go to another park when this one is right here in the neighborhood,” says Vickie Olmstead.
City spokesperson Lilia Chacon says their crews are dealing with years of “deferred maintenance at 77 parks across the city.”
“They start early, they work late, they’ve been working overtime whether it’s on weeds or keeping debris out of the parks,” Chacon says.
Chacon says crews come to Franklin Miles Park every other day to deal with weeds and pick up trash, but the city says they are looking for more ways to deal with the drug problem that’s made its way into the park.
“One of the things we’re looking at is putting needle boxes so we can drop the syringes in a box instead of leaving them out,” Chacon says.
Trujillo says the city should work with the county and state to increase staffing.
“You need to keep on top of this. You can’t just say, ‘Oh, we’re going to clean it every other day.’ This is something that you have to check every day,” Trujillo says.
The city is also talking to the park’s porta-potty vendors to see if they can clean them more often.