Trudy Jones has been the city councilor for Albuquerque’s District 8 for close to 14 years, and in that time, she has worked to shape her community for the better and greatly encourages her constituents to do the same.
As a retired commercial real estate agent for more than 30 years, Jones knows the city of Albuquerque and her district neighborhoods inside and out, having moved to the area in the 1980s, in which she has continued to improve over her 14-year tenure with the city council.
Jones recently spoke on her current projects and what she has accomplished in what she says will be her last term as city councilor.
Projects finished recently in her district include a bunker room for Fire Station 16 on Juan Tabo, a space specifically requested by firefighters.
Jones explained a bunker room is for the firefighters’ equipment used when fighting fires, which can get covered in carcinogens or even at times asbestos from billowing smoke. With no dedicated room for storing and properly cleaning this equipment, firefighters could be further exposed to these chemicals long after a fire is put out.
“It’s a health and safety measure, and they asked me if I would build them one,” she said. “So now they can come back and have that room where there are exhaust fans and ventilation to deal with the equipment properly.”
When asked what project she is most proud of, it is her revitalization project of all the parks in District 8, which she said has been somewhat of a challenge but also the most rewarding.
The project managed to get new sod, replace old trees, as well as upgrading playground equipment, installing sunshades, sprinkler systems and upgraded irrigation in the spaces.
The El Oso Grande Park project, for example, cost more than $280,000, according to the neighborhood association. The revitalization project came after a fire in 2014 left the park area in ruins.
“We’ve finished our last park putting in playground equipment (at High Desert), and it has been a journey,” which Jones said was partially federally funded with state grants.
The update of the Juan Tabo Library and a full remodel — with updated equipment — at the Bear Canyon Senior Center are some of the projects she is most pleased with during her tenure.
Regarding the library, Jones stated, “We made a courtyard and enclosed it where the kids can have their readings and are able to bring the mountains and great outdoors to them during their story times.”
Jones explained she is critical of what she deems “foo-foo” projects of fellow city officials and believes that the residents need to be considered more when trying to get these projects pushed through, citing the highly debated proposal of the United Soccer Stadium, which was shut down last year, as an example.
“We have so many foo-foo projects that we fund for millions of dollars that never achieve anything or that really help the citizens in any way but makes for great press releases to get re-elected the next term.” Jones said.
She also wants to iterate that the city needs to get back to face-to-face meetings for city council; as she puts it, more respect is given when everyone is forced to look each other in the face and that basic courtesies go out the door when issues are discussed with attempts at resolution over Skype, Zoom or email.
“One city councilor has only shown up to one or two meetings in the last year, so how are we supposed to get anything done when people don’t bother to participate?” she asked.
In her spare time, Jones likes to walk around the Albuquerque Academy grounds with her family and will traditionally pick up trash along the way.
She said that although the views of the city are breathtaking from the 3.2 miles loop around the school, unfortunately, the students leave trash throughout the campus. Although there is someone to clean the grounds, the external pathways are not often maintained, Jones said.
It is an example many of the residents in her area follow, from volunteering to keep the newly renovated parks clean, to organizing cleanup days on bike paths and trails throughout the Northeast Heights area.
Although it is Jones’ last term, she said she is always open to hearing her fellow residents’ concerns and will likely be continuing to volunteer her time and efforts to the community long after she has retired from city council.