This story is a staff report from The Paper.

On Saturday, Mayor Tim Keller and a group of city leaders gave an update on the historic Rail Yards clean-up of environmental contamination on the property. As a result of the historical uses of the site, the Rail Yards sustained environmental impacts from both petroleum hydrocarbon and metals contamination. The city received a conditional Certificate of Completion for environmental remediation on the northern half of the property as outlined in the State Environment Department’s Voluntary Remediation Program.

The city removed hundreds of windows containing asbestos and lead-contaminated soil and met the critical remediation requirements for the property to be healthy for the environment and visitors. The conditional certificate also requires continued monitoring of hazardous materials on the property through groundwater sampling and soil sampling.

“We bought the Rail Yards with the intent of redeveloping this historic site and creating a space the whole community can enjoy,” said Keller. “This site is a historic piece of Albuquerque and we are happy to be making significant progress in revitalizing the Yards.”

“A lot of the work performed here left hazardous materials like lead and asbestos behind,” said the Acting Director of the Environmental Health Dept. Mark DiMenna. “Through our remediation work, we can now safely utilize the space and continue to monitor to ensure public and environmental health.”

“The Environment Department will continue to work closely and in collaboration with the City’s Environmental Health Department to certify the remainder of the Rail Yards property,” said Director of the Water Protection Division, John Rhoderick.

The city began a streetscaping project on Monday that will add a wide walking trail with green space and benches. The project will also add traffic slowing features to Second St. in order to make the area safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. In addition to the work on the walking path, there will be a new entrance added for pedestrians and bicycles on the north side of the Rail Yard property.

“Creating a safe, walkable space along the Rail Yards property will make the space more inviting and easier to access while making sure it blends in with the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Lawrence Rael, Chief Operations Officer for the City. “There is a lot of work getting done here and we look forward to seeing people utilize the Yards more and more.”

Currently, the Rail Yards is not available for private rentals, such as weddings, due to a major film production utilizing the entire property. Some public events, such as Family Portrait Day, will take place in the fall pending production schedules.

“We’re pleased to see this historic area get much-needed renovations and upgrades,” said Department of Arts & Culture Director Dr. Shelle Sanchez. “The Rail Yards remains a popular place to hold events. We look forward to partnering with community organizations to bring more arts and cultural programming and public events to this space.”

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This story is a staff report from The Paper.