New Albuquerque fire station to be built in Coronado Park

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Coronado Park won’t be much of a park once construction near I-40 and Second Street gets underway, but that doesn’t mean this will no longer be a space for community members to enjoy.

The new project promises to be especially beneficial for our local fire department.

“This, I think is by far in a way the most joyous reason I’ve been at Coronado park since I got elected,” said Mayor Tim Keller. 

Nine months after the City of Albuquerque shut down Coronado Park due to an alarming increase in crime, officials finally decided what to do with the property, but it means closing the door on the current skate park.

“First, we’re going to rehab station four,” said Keller. 

That’s the decades-old fire station right next to the park. Then, the city will build a new training center, also to be controlled by Albuquerque Fire Rescue.

“This is a great location for it being in central New Mexico and in the heart of the city, access to the freeways and so forth, and of course, being next to an existing station is also very important. But we do anticipate this facility being used statewide, all around New Mexico,” said Keller. 

“The existing fire station will become the new hub for AFR’s Special Operation Divisions. This new operational hub will centralize and consolidate AFR’s multiple task forces for more efficient and rapid deployments both locally and regionally,” said AFR Chief Emily Jaramillo. 

The mayor said the city had several ideas for what to do with the park, until the state offered to cover the $15 million project during the legislative session.

“I want to just highlight, I think why we liked this one, it’s basically because we got money for it. So I’m just gonna be straight up,” Keller said. 

Officials say the design process will start this fall, and phase one – which will be the construction of the new station – is expected to take about two years.

The Wells Park Neighborhood Association president says she is excited about the change.

“I think it’s been a long time coming, and it’ll be a real benefit to the neighborhood, and we look forward to working with the city on planning, and designing part of this space to still be a public amenity,” said Doreen McKnight, president of the Wells Park Neighborhood Association. 

Neighborhood reps also say business owners and people living near the park feel safer now than they did nine months ago while the park was still open. They appreciate what the city has done to keep the area clean.

The mayor also gave an update Tuesday morning on the city’s homelessness crisis, and what officials are doing to help the folks no longer living in the park.

They say they’ve added more shelter pick-up and drop-off locations across Albuquerque, so they’re not so concentrated in one specific area.

The city gives out housing vouchers, and recently bought the SureStay Hotel as they look into longer-term housing options. They also have encampment clean-up teams now.

“We have four encampment teams, and they clean up 200 or so encampments a month in each quadrant of the city. And those were just, you know, so put into operation around February,” said Keller. “So the city’s in a vastly different place, both to house people, and also to clean.”