The City of Albuquerque officially closes Coronado Park
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.
“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.
“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.