The Friday Roundup:
  • The city's new plan for Coronado Park
  • Old Town flags have been missing since October
  • WMS park renaming effort delayed
  • Another unusual vending machine
  • Duranes Elementary would close under new proposal
  • Tiger is still at large
  • ...and more
Welcome to our weekly collection of briefs, announcements, photos, letters, news from other outlets, and other odds and ends. Let's get right to it:
City's new goal for Coronado Park is a regional training center for public safety agencies
Mayor Tim Keller made the announcement last week (video) as part of a broader press conference highlighting anti-crime initiatives (press release on that here). The city is seeking $20 million in state funding for the training center, he said.

The facility would be open to law enforcement, fire agencies, HAZMAT teams, and search-and-rescue operations. It "will also create a private and secure staging grounds for appropriate agencies during regional incidents," according to a city-produced overview document.

When Keller closed Coronado Park in August, he pitched the center as one possible future use of the park, but the list of options also included new housing, a safe outdoor space encampment, and rebuilding the park.

Neighborhood leaders and City Councilor Isaac Benton had expressed support for keeping the land as some sort of public space (DAN, 8/29/22). The training center, however, seems to have tentatively won out, and a replacement for the fire station at Third and McKnight may be part of the deal.

"Fire Station 4 is one of the oldest AFR facilities and it needs to be replaced," city spokeswoman Ava Montoya told DAN. "If the city receives funding, it will move forward with a new station and a public safety center at the Coronado Park site ... it is anticipated that the whole site would be needed for the public safety facility."

Construction could begin as early as the fall, but Montoya said this will "depend on funding and industry conditions."
No DAN on Monday for the Martin Luther King Day federal holiday
But we'll be back Tuesday morning bright and early with (barring breaking news) the latest on one of the Downtown core's most prominent vacant buildings.
Growing like a weed
The new penguin chick at the zoo is growing up fast - "essentially doubling its weight every two weeks," the BioPark reports. In the photo above it is being weighed - it checked in at 7.83 pounds. BioPark
Old Town flags have been missing since October
Treasure House Books and Gifts owner John Hoffsis took to social media this week to explain: 

Most of you know that my father and I have put up the flags on Old Town Plaza for nearly the last 50 years [DAN, 9/1/20]. Now I’ve asked the city to take over the responsibility for something they should have been doing all that time instead of a private citizen. I have stopped putting the flags up since mid-October due to strains on my personal schedule. They claimed back in August to have ordered lighting that would permit the U.S. flag to fly 24/7. Where is it? If you would like to help speed up the process and see flags back on the plaza, call the city at 311 and let them know.

The city, for its part, told KOB that they are "aware of the situation, and we would like to acknowledge and share our appreciation for the family’s years of service and assistance with the Old Town flagpole. We have designed a solution and have ordered lighting equipment for the Old Town flagpole. When we receive and install the necessary equipment, the flagpole will then be designated as an illuminated flagpole.”

Here's the background on the part of flag etiquette in question, from the American Legion

The Flag Code states it is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flag staffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness. The American Legion interprets “proper illumination” as a light specifically placed to illuminate the flag (preferred) or having a light source sufficient to illuminate the flag so it is recognizable as such by the casual observer.
WMS park rename project is delayed on procedural grounds
The Metropolitan Parks and Recreation Advisory Board voted Tuesday to delay their recommendation on renaming Washington Middle School Park for Bennie Hargrove, a move that will give the city time to follow its usual procedures for such changes.

Board members noted that the name change policy stipulates posting a sign in the park in question for 15 days and publishing an official notice in a daily newspaper, something that should ideally include "the time and date of the board meeting where discussion of the proposed naming will be considered."

The city did neither of those things. It also failed to post notice of Tuesday's regular advisory boarding meeting for the second time in as many months, which appears to violate this ordinance.

"I think people will support this," said board member Valerie Martínez of the larger renaming issue. But when it comes to the process, "I think it's really important to do what we say we're going to do."

Christina Sandoval, the top parks infrastructure official who is managing the name change, took the blame for missing the usual steps.

"This doesn't happen very often and I must admit I didn't read the fine language of the process," she told board members.

Three of the four board members present expressed support for renaming the park (more background in Monday's DAN), but Tony Johnson cast it as something of an empty gesture.

"Renaming a park is not going to address the gun violence they have in these schools," he said.

The board plans to meet again in a few weeks to take up the matter again.
Lifeguard recruitment for Rio Grande Pool, other city sites, begins
Interested applicants should visit this page. There has been a big shortage of lifeguards in recent years.
For sale
Sister, the Downtown core bar, now has a vending machine selling locally made goods and materials. It's called the Wyrd Machine and is a project of Marya Jones, the founder of ABQ Zine Fest and former proprietor of The Tannex, an arts venue once located in Barelas. It is the second unusual vending machine to come to Greater Downtown in recent months, following Golden Crown Panaderia's "cookie ATM" (DAN, 11/29/22). Downtown Arts and Cultural District
Duranes Elementary would close under 'rightsizing' plan
APS says students would go either to Cochiti (near Matthew Meadows Park) or Reginald Chávez (West Old Town). The plan calls for the building itself to be used as a preschool. APS is facing a long-term demographic problem that is driving these changes - something we explored last August.
West Old Town tiger is still at large
When police found a tiger while responding to a call near Louisiana and Zuni this week, there was a bit of breathless speculation that perhaps it was the same animal missing from an August incident in West Old Town. But it appears to be a different tiger altogether, KOB reports. For the time being at least, the BioPark is taking care of the tiger.
Local rep's bill would transfer sidewalk responsibility from property owners to local government
Miguel Garcia, who represents much of Greater Downtown south of Central, told KRQE he thinks it's unfair to ask low-income property owners to pay sidewalk repair costs. But the city of Albuquerque, for one, doesn't seem wild about the new idea. The bill is here, Denver's new plan on this subject is here, and our big sidewalk feature from last June is here.
Ortiz y Pino's seven-point plan to expand the behavioral health workforce
The state senator who represents most of Greater Downtown penned this op-ed in the Journal.
The new line of Rail Yards Market stickers is extremely holographic.
Wells Park expansion project going out to bid later this month
That's the word from Christina Sandoval, the city official heading up the effort. The project, which will see the vacant square block north of the Johnny Tapia Community Center developed into a park, got rezoned for the effort last summer. More background here.
Dog House Drive In is a 'well-oiled machine'
That's the verdict of the Journal in this review, which also notes that the indoor seating is no longer a feature of the place thanks to a certain virus you may have heard about.
This weekend's MLK commemoration includes march down namesake street
It begins at 10 a.m. tomorrow at MLK and University and proceeds to the Downtown core from there. Other details on the weekend's events, which actually begin today, here.
Comic Con begins today
It's at the convention center through the weekend. Details here.
Timothy Sheehan, father of prominent vintner, dies
Read his obituary here.
APD investigating homicide at Fourth and Central
It happened late Saturday night, APD reports.
Property owner who tangled with city in eminent domain case ordered to pay $6 million to ex-employees
The wage theft case took place in New York and concerns Noah Sapir, who owned a triangle of land near the Rail Yards that the city wants to turn into a roundabout (DAN, 11/2/20). The ruling is here.
Now that's devotion
Noticed in San José: A Raiders fan has installed a Raiders fan in the yard.
Cathedral's food pantry is open to 87102 residents
Following Tuesday's article about the Cathedral of St. John, Alert Reader Anne sent in this flyer about the food pantry. They're open on Tuesday mornings if you or anyone you know could use the service.
Valley Area Command has new crime stats point person
Lamont Davis has taken over as the crime prevention specialist for APD's Valley Area Command, a post that involves reporting statistics to area neighborhood associations. He succeeds Laura Kuehn, who was in the position on an interim basis following the retirement last year of Laura Trujillo.
Convention center's indoor track opens for meets, public use
Members of the public will get four chances to use the track, according to this schedule put out by the city. A list of track meets is here.
Coming soon
Karen Yank was selected to create an art installation for the Sunport Boulevard extension project. Details here. Bernalillo County
Off-Duty Reads: BNSF is retiring antique railroad semaphores in northern New Mexico
One of the first signaling methods railway operators cooked in the mid-1800s was called a semaphore - a tall trackside device that features a long blade that rotates between different positions. Every prominent railroad (known as "class one") in the United States has long since replaced them with more modern tech - except along the BNSF line between roughly Lamy and the Colorado border. But the antiques are coming out soon (if not already), reports For video of how they work set against some majestic New Mexico backdrops, click here.
Downtown Albuquerque News covers Downtown, Old Town, and surrounding neighborhoods. We publish weekdays except for federal holidays. If someone forwarded DAN to you, please consider subscribing. Click here to subscribe, contact us, submit a letter to the editor, or learn more about what we do. If you ever run into technical trouble receiving DAN, click here.
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