Hope springs anew in Los Alamos

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Our View

In case you’re a little slow to emerge from your cave after a long winter’s nap, spring has sprung in Los Alamos. 

Leaves are back on the trees, flowers are blooming and a young man’s thoughts turn to downtown revitalization and sprucing up the look of the town… Huh?

Well, there are things going on that give one a sense of renewed hope and optimism for the future of Los Alamos. 

The current composition of the county council gives the sense that it may be more forward-leaning or a bit more activist in its approach to some of the nagging problems that seem to be holding the town back. 

The council’s willingness to at least attempt to address property standards is a good sign. If the councilors can then put some teeth into it and (gasp) actually enforce the code, then all the better.

Then, council should continue on its recent path toward plucking the biggest thorn from the town’s side: deducing a means by which to breathe new life into the housing scene. This prickly issue is quickly coming to the fore as many of the well-worn quads and other similar post-war era dwellings become increasingly difficult to sell and insure.

On a sunnier note, there appears to be a genuine mounting momentum to get downtown revitalization underway.

County Administrator Harry Burgess has Greg Fisher, Anne Laurent, Philo Shelton and others focused on making some things happen. Some streetscape improvements down along Central may be the first visible signs of things yet to come.

But one big undertaking for the county remains rather elusive, and that involves becoming truly “business-friendly” for those seeking to start or grow their enterprises here in Los Alamos. Despite some efforts in the last couple of years, the process of starting or expanding a business still remains painfully slow and far too tedious. Case in point: the U-Haul franchise that’s been trying to open a small annex here since last August.

Still, other good things are happening… Scott Randall is firmly ensconced as the new executive director at the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation. Randall brings a fresh perspective and new ideas to some old problems along with some positive thoughts about how a chamber of commerce should function for its members and the community. 

Also, word on the street is that a couple of high profile commercial properties are now under contract to be sold. While the deals aren’t done yet, it’s further evidence that the dominos could start to fall any time now.

The real tipper would be for Smith’s top brass to green light their planned superstore concept for Trinity Site. The final hurdle rests with the outcome of negotiations with NMDOT on how many entrances will be allowed for the long-awaited shopping center. Ultimately, the final decision will come down from Smith’s and Kroger corporate heads.

Hope springs eternal…