Battle for Barelas neighborhood ends with City decision

BARELAS SIGN

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The battle between two neighborhood associations- one historic and one rather new- is finally over after the city of Albuquerque came to a decision.

The City has sided with the Barelas Neighborhood Association after a months-long, heated back and forth with the Silver Platinum Downtown Neighborhood Association.

Back in August, the City told KRQE News 13 the SPDNA was able to extend its borders to include BNA’s territory, which encompasses not only Barelas, but the BioPark and Rail Yards, because BNA had fallen out of recognition by the City as a neighborhood association due to a failure to submit proper paperwork.

The decision angered Barelas residents and motivated a group of neighbors to come together and appeal it.

“We are defending what is ours, what has always been ours,” Elisha Mirand-Pohl said back in August.

This week, the City sent an email to all parties involved in the fight, reversing its decision to allow SPDNA to take over Barelas.

The City’s Planning Director, Suzanne Lubar, said it made a mistake by allowing SPDNA to claim such a massive area to represent. Lubar also said Barelas, being such a unique and historic neighborhood, would be best represented by a group with long-standing community ties.

Elisha Miranda-Pohl, new BNA president, said the reversal decision brought her to tears.

“We’re just excited to be involved and be recognized and do for the better good of the community,” she said, listing several community events the group has planned.

Those who live and work in the Barelas community seem to be happy, too. Long-time owner Rudy Sanchez at Auto Alley on 4th Street and Bridge says when he hears “Barelas” he thinks: “Historic, I think a landmark. I think a lot of ‘ma and pa’ small businesses, such as myself, make the community.”

Sanchez says he’s glad Barelas will once again represent itself going forward.

The City says BNA will be in good-standing as its own neighborhood association again so long as it keeps up with the required paperwork.

KRQE News 13 reached out to Ron Casias, SPDNA president, who was unable to meet for an interview Friday. Over the phone, he said he wishes BNA the best and is happy for them. As he has previously, Casias said SPDNA took over BNA to help them out and motivate the community to come together.

Casias also called the tactics of the Barelas neighbors who challenged the SPDNA expansion as “strong arm” and that they wanted to make SPDNA look bad. He said the City cost SPDNA money for this reversal decision and that the City should have gotten it right the first time.

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