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City of Albuquerque closes Coronado Park

KOAT Albuquerque 8/18/2022
albuquerque closes coronado park © KOAT albuquerque closes coronado park

Albuquerque city officials announced the closure of Coronado Park. The announcement was made at the park at 4 p.m.

The city put up fencing to block off the now empty park grounds.

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The city also provided services to those in need at the park. There were between 30 and 40 people at the park when the city closed the area.

The decision today comes after the city's announcement last month to close the park. According to the city, there are anywhere from 60 to 120 people that lived at Coronado Park.

The city cited drug trafficking and usage playing a role in the park closure, as well as overall damage to the park.

Another reason the city gave for the closure was CDC guidance during the earlier stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance was to not move encampments to mitigate the virus spread.

The city also cited lack of sanitation posing a health risk to those at Coronado Park. Mayor Tim Keller noted those conditions in his statement along with the strategy regarding the homeless population.

“The actions taken today by the City of Albuquerque are made necessary by the threats to public health, safety and the environment that this encampment has created," Keller said. "Let no one think, however, that these actions represent a comprehensive strategy for resolving the problem of what we commonly call the homeless in Albuquerque or anywhere else in America."

That reasoning differs from chief administrative officer Lawrence Rael's, who cited the prolonged challenge with the homeless at the park.

“Homelessness at Coronado has been a challenge for nearly a decade," Rael said in the July press release. "But we have to draw a line and simply stop a situation that is obviously unacceptable, regardless of what we do next.”

Albuquerque Police Department have recovered several different firearms at the park, as well as narcotic drugs like fentanyl, methamphetamine and heroin.

The department has received over 400 phone calls this year regarding Coronado Park.

With the closure of this park in Albuquerque, the city announced funding for a park near the Wells Park community center in July.

The project for that park is expected to be fully underway next year.

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