Renovations on the way for Phil Chacon Park

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Neighbors with deep roots in Albuquerque’s International District have some complaints about the changes they’ve seen at Phil Chacon Park over the years.

“Parents sitting with their kids watching them play and that can’t happen anymore– it’s just too dangerous,” said Diantha Swoboda, who has lived in the neighborhood since the 1960s.

“I used to walk here too by myself had no worries I would walk way on the back side and over around that way and I just can’t do that anymore,” said Janie Lennox, who moved to the neighborhood 35 years ago and raised all seven of her kids there.

You’ll find trash, tents, needles, and broken bottles. Neighbors told KOB 4 last month they feared it would become the next Coronado Park.
“There are days when I’m truly depressed walking through the park,” said Swoboda. “If I didn’t have a large dog I don’t think I would feel comfortable walking through the park.”

City leaders say they’ve been listening, and there are plans in the works.

“We have had our focus on Phil Chacon for a long long time,” said Dave Simon, Director of the parks and recreation department. He shared renovation plans for the park.

Crews will relocate and improve existing basketball courts, and renovate softball fields. They will also add a dog park and bike path, and update the irrigation system.

“This will be a complete renovation of this park from stem to stern, it’s probably going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of a four to six million dollar project,” said Simon. “It’s a park that needs it and it’s a neighborhood that deserves an outstanding community park.”

The upgrade will include new security measures like cameras and lights, all with the goal of making the neighborhood safer.

“We do appreciate that somebody must be hearing something,” said Janie Lennnox.

Parks and Recreation leaders said the Phil Chacon renovation will start in late fall or early winter.