Current Trinity plan a monumental mistake

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There has been much talk about how the Trinity Site Revitalization Project has the potential to change our community forever. I have no doubt that it will. I am less convinced that the changes will be positive.
According to the plan, a new anchor store, a Smith’s Marketplace, will be surrounded by a sea of asphalt on the easternmost part of the downtown. In addition to creating sprawl and hazardous conditions on Trinity Drive, the development will create a grocery monopoly for Smith’s corporation. Monopolies don’t nurture commerce, they stunt it.  As owners of the Mari-Mac shopping center and anchor tenant of the planned Trinity Site strip mall, Smith’s will enjoy exclusive license to serve up whatever type of food and merchandise they choose to a captive community audience, like it or not.
Favorite and popular sought-after name-brand items that Los Alamos shoppers enjoy will be replaced by “Private Selection” substitutes, a phenomenon that those of us who have been paying attention have already noticed taking place at the current Smith’s. Imagine our community’s value to the corporation as marketing Guinea pigs or social-engineering test subjects! I hope at least we’ll get loyalty discounts.
If we revisit the beginnings of the Trinity Site saga, we can recall how five years ago our community was sold a fable that was rolled into Ordinance 529, which promised a lavish “lifestyle center,” replete with a big-box retailer (Target was the name dangled before us), an ice cream store, a bowling alley, restaurants, entertainment venues, gathering places and beautiful canyon-edge walking paths. Now we are being asked to settle on diminished expectations and stomach a larger version of our already existing grocery store. It’s kind of like telling the kids that the family’s week at Disney World has been rejiggered into an afternoon at Cliff’s Amusement Park. Most of us have no trouble envisioning what the outcome of the Ordinance 529 election would have been if voters had been told “Smith’s Marketplace” instead of lies.
And don’t be fooled: While developers will say nearly anything at this stage of the game to keep the ball rolling, any amenities at the planned strip mall will be paid for with community tax dollars under the ruse of public-private partnership — a fancy, palatable name for subsidized or socialized development.
Best case, our community will see short-term gains as the excitement of a new establishment sustains a temporary shopping frenzy at the revitalized Trinity Site. That trend may continue for a year or 18 months, maybe even a little longer. Eventually people will realize that our new shopping paradise holds only the same food selection we’ve suffered with for years, and that the “marketplace” part of the store consists of a limited selection of lower-quality outdoor goods, clothing that is at or below Wal-Mart grade, and assorted tawdry merchandise disguised by a premium price tag as something better than it actually is.
The final result will be a return to the retail leakage problem that Los Alamos has experienced for many years, as people flee the Hill to get their hands on a decent piece of meat or edible produce — picking up a few other items from out-of-town stores while they’re at it — or continue to make purchases from the convenience of their iPhones or computer keyboards.
Hopefully, by the time that happens, county leadership will have come up with yet another economic development scheme to turn loose on yet another citizen’s committee to dazzle us and prevent the community from dwelling on the monumental mistake that is the current course of the Trinity Site Revitalization Project.

James Rickman
Los Alamos


Cancel this ill-conceived project.

The Trinity Site Revitalization Project was... and is... a pig-in-a-poke.

The Trinity Site Revitalization Project was ill-conceived from the start; people will not come to Los Alamos to Shop. Major big box stores know this. (I really can't believe that I actually have to write this... I thought it would be obvious to even the most casual observer.)

Just Say No!

Courting Business

Well I honestly do not remember Target but I do distinctly remember Wild Oats and Borders.  If the county is not going to approach other businesses like the ones listed above, to include Target, then all of the money they are investing is all for not.  People will continue to take themselves off The Hill to get what they need.  We can all sit here and scream and yell till we are blue in the face about this silly project, nothing is going to change.  We will end up with another Smith's and a furious community because in the end County Council does what they want not what we want.SO...I guess this is for all members of the County Council...Thanks for the Smith's, how about all of the other promised stores you used to get me to vote yes: Chico's, Borders, Target's, Wild Oats (how about a nice substitute for that one Trader Joe's/Sunflower/Natural Grocers).  While you are at it may be you could court: REI, Apple, Best Buy, Albertson's, Walgreens, Chipotle's, Flying Star, Sizzler's, Joe's Crab Shack, or Cabela's just to name a few.  Please.

Pretty Please with Suger on Top.