Coronado Park is closing, and another will open to serve the area of Wells Park.
The city announced that the location, a popular spot for Albuquerque’s homeless population, will close next month in a Monday press release. It has also served as a centralized drop-off and pickup site for the West Side Emergency Shelter for nearly a decade, but during the COVID-19 pandemic when park regulations were relaxed as a mitigation measure, conditions at the park deteriorated, including narcotics trafficking and drug use and prolonged damage to the park’s irrigation and vegetation.
However, the city also announced the opening of a green space and recreational area of the Walker Property, adjacent to the Wells Park Community Center. The project is fully funded and in the final design stages with work getting under way next year. The Wells Park area will also see stepped up patrols from the Clean City Program. in response to the closure of Coronado Park.
The city will continue to offer services and housing options to those using Coronado Park, including making limited property storage available to those who are interested or in need of it. “The status quo will not stand,” Mayor Tim Keller said. “This remains a complex issue, and while we work to determine what’s next for Coronado, we’ll keep stepping up to get folks connected to the right services and resources.”
“Homelessness at Coronado has been a challenge for nearly a decade, but we have to draw the line and simply stop a situation that is obviously unacceptable, regardless of what we do next,” said Chief Administrative Officer Lawrence Rael.
In the meantime, the city will continue to consider the next steps for the park, ranging from permanent closure, eventual re-opening as a park, or repurposing it for piloting a safe outdoor space program. Until that time, the park will remain closed, and transportation will shift to centralized, multi-site routing for those needing transport to shelter and services.
“The city is committed to finding solutions that work for people who are unhoused but also keep our neighborhoods safe,” said Carol Pierce, director or Family and Community Services. “The administration has made sure that critical resources like housing vouchers and shelter beds are more available than they were in the past. Now it’s time to move forward so that we can reach safe, humane outcomes for our city.”