Leaders firming up plans for future of Coronado Park

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque leaders are providing a much clearer picture of what the future of the city’s notorious Coronado Park could look like.

Mayor Tim Keller put three ideas on the table when the city closed the problematic park in August – a new park, affordable housing, or an AFR facility. It seems the public safety-related option has taken the lead.

Albuquerque leaders plan to ask the legislature for $20 million to fund a regional training center on the park’s property.

“We’re trying to continue that path of having these special operations in strategic locations throughout the city of Albuquerque so they can serve the entire population of the city and the state of New Mexico,” Fire Chief Gene Gallegos said.

He says it would be able to house all special ops teams like wildland, hazmat, and heavy technical rescue. But it would be open to the city’s police and community services departments, and any others to use it for training.

“We’re open to making sure we work together as a team. In all aspects of public safety,” said Gallegos.

The owner of nearby Rio Bravo Brewing, Denise Baker, says she’ll be sad to see it go.

“We bought this property in 2014 because of the park, it has been there 75 years, and the dog park we’re dog friendly in our brewery and the location off the freeway,” said Baker. “If I had my choice I would love the park back. But I just don’t see that’s going to happen.”

She says business has picked up again since the city closed the park, so whatever option the city goes with, she hopes it keeps progress moving in the right direction.

 “Everyone had to put up fences, they had to put Constantine wire. For the last four years it’s just constant ‘what do we have to do,'” said Baker. “I see almost a rebirth of this area. I just hope they do something good with the park.”