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The City of Albuquerque officially closes Coronado Park

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Gino Gutierrez
/
KSFR News
The City of Albuquerque cited the park as a hotbed for narcotic usage, trafficking, and organized crime and for those reason, it needed to be closed.

A patch of dirt, a few pools of water and a flock of pigeons, that is all that remains at Coronado Park.

Once home to the largest encampment of unhoused individuals in Albuquerque, the park was officially closed by the city Wednesday afternoon.

Fences have been built around the perimeter of the park and no one will be allowed in.

This comes three weeks after Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller made the surprise announcement about the city’s intention to close the park.

Since then, Keller said the city has been offering “extensive” outreach support to the occupants of Coronado Park and most took them up on the city’s offers.

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Gino Gutierrez
/
KSFR News
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller (front) speaks about the criminal element that prayed on the vulnerable community at Coronado Park.

“Every single person in this park was offered services and help several times. Many took us up on that offer, at the end of (Wednesday) only about 40 people were still here, between 30-40 people still here. That’s way down from when we announced this and it being around 100.”

The City of Albuquerque’s Family and Community Services Department and Albuquerque Community Safety Department both spearheaded the intensive outreach effort, which consisted of getting individuals connected with the right program and organizations.

Rather that be transporting them to a hospital to receive needed medical care or providing transportation back to their homes out of state.

Family and Community Services Director Carol Pirece said it was a team effort to provide this outreach.

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Gino Gutierrez
/
KSFR News
Department Director of Family and Community Services Carol Pierce explains the extend of the outreach the city did with the occupants of Coronado Park.

“I just really want our community to know that we’ve done this together and it’s very emotional. Nobody could’ve done this alone, it took the city, it took our partners, it took Heading Home and multiple phone calls to respond, which they did to get people connected to resources and we are so proud as a community, that as of (Wednesday), 50 people are connected to that next step. And why? Because people reached out.”

The closure of the park will also mean the end of the “hotbed” of crime Keller said the park has seen.

The park was the epicenter of narcotic usage, trafficking and organized crime, according to a tweet for Keller’s account.

As for the future of the park, officials said the city will continue to consider next steps. T

hose range anywhere from permanent closure, eventual re-opening as a park, or repurposing for other City uses that may include housing, shelter space or public safety training.

Until a decision is reached on what the next phase of Coronado Park will be, it will remain fenced off.

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Gino Gutierrez
/
KSFR News
Coronado Park is officially closed with no timeline on what's next for it.

Gino Gutierrez was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A lifelong resident of New Mexico, Gino found interest in broadcasting after falling in love with sports and sports broadcasting. He attended the University of New Mexico, where he majored in mass media journalism. While at UNM, he worked the New Mexico Daily Lobo, serving as both sports and managing editor. He can also be heard providing play-by-play commentary for the Lobo Hockey Network.