Fix for problem-plagued alley on hold

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Neighbors thought a fix to a problem alley, they say has been run over by drug users and transients, was on its way but they were wrong.

The alley sits in a northeast Albuquerque neighborhood, near San Mateo and McCleod, and has been a problem for years.

Mary White lives nearby. She said its been about two years since they took their concerns to the city and city officials acknowledged that something needed to change.

The alley has a section that’s hidden from the streets. White said with no overhead lights and tall brick walls its become a hide-out for criminals.

White said neighbors have found drug needles, graffiti, bullets and at times there’s been enough bottles to stock a shelf of a liquor store.

“We tried to convey to the city that we would like to get this resolved sooner rather than later before something actually does happen,” White said.

She thought they were on the fast track to a fix. White said a few months ago the property owners of the brick wall agreed to allow the city to tear it down and put up a tall rod-iron fence. The city would also fence off the opening.

She said the money was also approved by Councilor Brad Winter.

“Councilor Winter offered to pay to put up the rod iron fence from his discretionary funds – which we appreciated greatly,” White said.

But now, the work is on hold.

“Well, not a lot has happened,” White said.

White said Councilor Winter’s office sent her an email saying because the construction would take eight months the process to get it done is more complex. He also added that a simple yes from the property owner is no good. The city has to go through a more extensive process that requires more paperwork.

“I’ve done some construction in my own yard over the years in my life and it never took me eight months to simply take down a cinder block wall and put up a fence,” White said.

It’s a set-back that White worries will only allow the problem to get worse.

Her biggest concern is when school starts back up there are kids who use the alley as short-cut.

“Our biggest concern was not them hopping the wall so much – but if they should come across the wall when a drug deal is going on,” White said.

There’s no word on how long it will take now to get the final approval to start construction.

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