A crucial bit of Corrales history likely will be stuccoed over in the weeks ahead as renovation of the old Corrales Valley Fire Station concludes. The frame-and-stucco building erected in the late 1970s as a fire-rescue station for the unincorporated territory in the Corrales Valley is being converted to house Village government’s planning and zoning offices as well as animal control operations.
The project is expected to be complete in July. Construction is being done by the Albuquerque-based Facility Build, which is led by Corrales’ Brian Kilcup, who also oversaw extensive renovation of two old structures in the Jones property adjacent to the Corrales Recreation Center. Those two shed are now used by the Village Public Works Department.
Decades before the property west of the post office was acquired by the Village, the barn and shed were used to house and maintain heavy equipment for contractor Harvey Jones’ construction operations. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXV No.12 August 6, 2016 “Jones Parcel Purchased.”)
Jones moved his business to Corrales, it was said, to avoid zoning restrictions in Bernalillo County. At that time, the Jones property of more than 20 acres between Corrales Road and Corrales Acequia was not within the Village limits, so Corrales’ regulations did not apply.
The Joneses quickly became respected and influential here, especially on flood control issues and the volunteer fire department. Both Harvey and Annette Jones were leaders on the old Corrales Watershed Board which was later absorbed by the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority.
But shortly after the community incorporated as a municipality in 1971, Corrales’ first mayor, Barbara Christianson, tried to annex the Jones property, along with all other Sandoval County territory along Corrales Road and west to the Main Canal.
Then-Mayor Christianson tried to pressure property owners, including the Joneses, to annex into the Village by threatening to withhold fire-rescue response to areas outside Village limits.
That implied threat enraged Annette Jones. She made a special lobbying appeal to the N.M. Legislature for funds to erect a separate fire station independent of Village government. She was successful, so the Corrales Valley Fire station was built. For years, it operated relatively autonomously, but became irrelevant when Village officials went ahead and annexed the Jones property and nearly all of what is now considered “Corrales” through a petition to the N.M. Boundary Commission.
(See Corrales Comment Vol.VII No. 7, 8 and 11, June 11, 1988, June 25 and
August 6, 1988 “Boundary Commission Will Be Asked to Annex Up to Rio Rancho.”)
The old sign along the facade remained even though the building has not had a use related to the Corrales Fire Department for decades. Instead, it has been a general purpose space used mainly by the Public Works Department.
Former Mayor Phil Gasteyer assigned high priority to relocating Public Works away from the municipal complex at the corner of Corrales Road and East La Entrada, which was the prime motive for purchasing the Jones property in 2016.
As prospects arose that the old building would be vacated by Public Works, a proposal was advanced that perhaps it could be converted into a “black box” performance space suitable for theater, concerts and other artistic functions.
Proponents envisioned the building connected to the old Community Center just east of it to create a Corrales arts center. But that idea fell amid concerns a few years ago about potential conflict with the N.M. Constitution’s “anti-donation” clause, prohibiting private parties from using public facilities without charge.
About a year ago, Mayor Jo Anne Roake decided to use the old Valley Fire Station for the Planning and Zoning Department and the Animal Services division of the Police Department.