Transients at Albuquerque park concern nearby businesses

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Neighbors are tired of dealing with it and drivers are tired of looking at it. Now the city said it has a plan for a tiny park that’s become a big time hangout for panhandlers, drinkers and drug users.

It should go without saying littering is not allowed at city parks, but if you take a close look at the Kimo Park, which is right off San Mateo and I-40, those basic rules are being ignored.

On top of that, a nearby business manager said the park’s temporary residents are causing a stir for customers.

“I can always see people pull up, and then they look at the park and they always drive away,” said Samantha Holliday, manager of Denny’s.

Denny’s is right next door to the park and the manager says parkgoers are constantly bringing their problems into the restaurant.

“We were cleaning under our booths one time and we found a bag of cocaine and two syringes once, and they’re also in the bathroom all the time,” she said. “They’ll bug our customers for money, and sometimes they’ll come in and eat, and run out,” she continued.

Kimo Park is considered a pocket park by the city. City officials said even though it’s not the typical place for a picnic, they said keeping it presentable is a priority.

“They are becoming prolific often through the summer months, and we will continue to address a no tolerance for them,” said Gilbert Montano, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff.

It’s been a known problem for years, and city officials said they’re going to look into changing the park to make it less inviting.

“Xeriscaping portions of the park so it’s not a comfortable place for individuals to loiter and stay throughout the day,” said Montano. “Transitioning from grass to rock and other plant life,” he continued.

It’s a change that’s welcomed by the restaurant’s manager.

“Either like block off the park or like put a big wall so they can’t be seen or can’t come pass,” said Holliday.

There is no exact timeline on when the changes will take place, but city officials said it would happen in the cooler months.

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