APS seeks to block access from problem park to Freedom HS

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An area of Albuquerque overrun by the homeless and drug users has become such a concern, the school district wants to put up a fence to keep them out. But, they’ll need help from the city first.

Albuquerque Public Schools is working to cut off access from New Kimo Park, off San Mateo and I-40, to nearby Freedom High School. It’s been more than a year since Parks and Rec closed the long-time problem park, now fenced off from the public.

KRQE News 13 reported last year when the park was riddled with drug needles, mattresses and even tents for the homeless. Now, neighbors near the so-called pocket park say there’s still a homeless problem in their neighborhood right across from Freedom High School and New Futures School.

“The biggest issue is the needles in the alley and trash in the alley,” neighbor Robert Janson explained.

APS Maintenance Manager John Dufay said the district wants to fence off access to the school coming from the park. APS said it’s a way to secure the campus.

Now, it’s requesting the city vacate the cul de sac next to Freedom High, which would turn it from a public right of way into private property, so the district can take it over and put up the fence.

Meanwhile, the planning department is still trying to sell the pocket park to a developer. It’s been on the market since August 2018 for $90,000.

“So far, the city has not received any offers on that piece of property,” Deputy Planning Director Brennon Williams said.

The request from APS still has to get through a planning committee and then city council. APS will then have to buy the land from the city. A price hasn’t been set yet.

APS has not decided what it will do with the land beside building a fence. More campus parking is one idea.

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