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City’s Working Plan for Closing of Coronado Park by End of Month

Intensive outreach and safety efforts continue as City addresses dangerous situation at the park.

ALBUQUERQUE – Since the beginning of the month, the City has been carrying out intensive outreach and safety operations to connect with people living in Coronado Park and keep the surrounding neighborhoods safe. The effort is focused on helping folks find viable alternatives, cleaning the park, and mitigating negative impacts to area businesses and residents. The multi-pronged approach spans City departments to secure results. Currently, about half of the camps that were previously in the park are no longer there, having moved on after receiving notice of the closure and outreach efforts. 

“In June we shared that we were evaluating all of our homeless policies. As part of this, in July we stated that we have to close Coronado Park. Throughout the next few months we’ll continue taking our all-of-the above approach to help our city cope with these issues,” said Mayor Tim Keller.

“The City’s teams are working diligently to offer services to folks in need, protect the surrounding neighborhood, and clean the park which has become a hazard,” said Chief Administrative Officer Lawrence Rael. “With the work already being done, we are on track to close the park by the end of this month.”

 

Services and Outreach

The Family and Community Services Department (FCS) and the Albuquerque Community Safety Department (ACS) have spearheaded the intensive outreach effort to get folks who want services connected with the right program or organization. Through this effort, nearly 20 percent of the people contacted in the park have opted to receive services. Some individuals were transported to the hospital to receive needed medical care and others received assistance getting transportation back to their homes out-of-state. Along with non-profit partners, FCS conducted an in-depth survey of people living in the park to best understand where folks are and what resources would be most helpful to them.

FCS has updated pickup locations for the shuttle to the Westside shelter and provided notice to folks in the area. The shuttle schedule and new locations are also available here

ACS is conducting outreach to all the businesses within a 1.5-mile radius to inform them of the coming closure and offer resources and ways to report encampments.

 

Cleanliness and Condition of the Park

The Solid Waste Department (SWD) and the Parks and Recreation Department (PRD) are actively working to clean the park and maintain the grounds as much as possible. Last week, SWD removed over 20 tons of waste from the park. Because of the level of waste and damage to the grounds, the teams will move to a weekly clean up schedule. Damage to the park’s irrigation system, hazardous dead trees, and pilfered electricity from nearby businesses present urgent concerns both for the long-term viability of the grounds and the safety of those occupying the park. The encampment outreach teams will enforce rules in the area so that the surrounding sidewalks and areas with children’s programing, like nearby Wells Park, are kept safe and clear. 

 

Safety and Security

Last week, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) Valley Area Command began implementing an updated plan to secure and protect the surrounding neighborhood. The plan brings an increased APD presence to the area immediately around Coronado Park, as well as increased surveillance and data monitoring of calls for service so that APD can provide efficient responses. ACS will also increase patrols in the area so that more first responders providing behavioral health responses and connecting those in need to service providers are on site. The park itself will also be under surveillance to make sure it remains secure.

This year alone, APD has received 418 calls for service directly at Coronado Park. Recent statistics for items confiscated and dangerous situations outline the urgency of closing the park:

  • 1 Shotgun
  • 3 Handguns
  • 4,500 Fentanyl pills
  • 3,008 Grams of Methamphetamine (over 5lbs)
  • 24 GM's of heroin
  • 29 GM's of cocaine
  • Several rocks of crack cocaine
  • $10,000.00 Cash
  • 3 Felony warrants cleared
  • 2 Federal warrants cleared
  • 85 ACS response (Since September 21) 
  • 651 APD calls for service (2021) & 418 (YTD 2022)
  • 2 shootings (Last 2 years)
  • 20 assault and battery reports

The City and many organizations across Albuquerque are continuing to work on addressing gaps in the system, creating a response to homelessness that prioritizes informed services and public safety.