LA's Post Office Could Attain Status As Historic Property

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County > Parks and Rec board, Fuller Lodge board give their annual reports

By Arin McKenna

Fuller Lodge Historic Districts Advisory Board (FLHDAB) Chair Mark Rayburn gave the Los Alamos County council some exiting news at its May 13 work session.
The Los Alamos post office may soon be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
During his annual report, Rayburn reported that after several years of effort, the FLHDAB completed the application May 9.
“I’ve been working on this myself for almost two years, and I know a lot of other people have worked on it for several years before that,” Rayburn said. “But I finally found the details that were necessary to make them happy.”
The New Mexico Cultural Properties Review Committee considers the application at 1 p.m. June 13 in the Bataan Memorial Building in Santa Fe, at 407 Galisteo St., Ste. 236.
The register is the nation’s official list of properties worthy of preservation.
According to Rayburn, a representative from the CPRC will attend a ceremony at the post office if the designation is approved.
Rayburn also reported that the board is moving forward with efforts to obtain Certified Local Government (CLG) status for the county.
“By recently passing the historic preservation ordinance, we can now get the CLG paperwork completed,” Rayburn said.
According to the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division (HPD) website, “The Certified Local Government Program was mandated by Congress in 1980 as an amendment to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. It assists local governments with integrating historic preservation initiatives at the local level. Joining the CLG program is an important and effective way to incorporate historic preservation into local planning decisions and ensure New Mexico’s diverse cultural resources are preserved.”
Rayburn noted several advantages to obtaining CLG status. Those are:

Credibility. “Once certified, we’ll be consistent with federal and state standards and regulations and we will have the backing of programs that have withstood the test of time,” Rayburn said. “Becoming a CLG provides the local programs the added value of prestige and cache. There are only eight other cities in New Mexico that have achieved CLG status.”
Technical assistance. HPD provides training publications, grants and a variety of technical assistance to CLGs.
Streamlining. According to Rayburn, utilizing CLG standards makes environmental review faster, more efficient and reduces costs and delays.
Involvement. The CLG status brings local preservation boards and commissions into broader land use planning and project approval processes.
Funding. Each state is required to pass 10 percent of its federal Historic Preservation Fund from the National Park Service to CLGs to fund their preservation activities.
Autonomy. “They don’t run the ship for us,” Rayburn said. “They review the structures and processes of the local preservation program, and then they comment on and make suggestions about strategies a local government can use to accomplish its goals and objectives. But it has no regulatory authority over the local governments.”
Economic benefits. “Where preservation is supported by local government policies incentives, designation can increase property values and pride of place,” Rayburn said. “Upon certification, local governments become eligible to apply for federal historic preservation grants.”

Rayburn also provided some “suggested actions.”
One suggestion was that the county provide t-coil loop technology in the Fuller Lodge Pajarito Room and adjacent foyer in order to assist those with diminished hearing.
Rayburn also urged the county to determine ownership of the Lujan Cabin on North Mesa. Owner permission is necessary to have the structure included on the National Register of Historic Places.
It is unclear whether the cabin is owned by the county or Shelly Cross. Staff has been searching for records to that effect and neither party has documentation proving ownership, although the property the cabin sits on was donated to the county.
Rayburn also advocated for initiating proceedings to list the Los Alamos County Performing Arts Center on the National Register of Historic Places.
Parks and Recreation Board Chair Chris Stubben also gave his annual report.
Stubben noted that the 2005 Parks and Recreation Plan governs the board’s activities.
The plan was based on community input gathered at six public meetings, through questionnaires and a survey.
Stubben indicated which goals have been met and which still need to be addressed.
Top priorities for the community at the time the plan was developed were having more facilities for teenagers and young adults, an expanded network of trails to connect neighborhoods, retail spaces, open areas and parks and an outdoor stage for concerts and entertainment.
“I think we’ve responded really well to these,” Stubben said. “But the next two are my concern.”
Citizens placed high priority on more facilities for younger children (51 percent) and the development of a community recreation center (47 percent).
Stubben also said the lack of a recreation center is “a concern.”
“We don’t have the indoor space to host events here in town. We don’t have the space for indoor soccer or indoor volleyball, badminton. We rely on Pueblo Gym and that won’t be around forever. We need to find other alternatives,” Stubben said. “In the last CIP (Capital Improvements Projects) round there were proposals for a community center, teen center and the ice rink. I thought there was a great opportunity to combine these things. I think that opportunity may have passed us by.”
Stubben believes the county needs either an indoor recreation center with an ice rink or an indoor practice field with an outside track.
“It could be a place where Bear Camp can go in the summer, where we could have events like the farmer’s market,” Stubben said. “I think you could do a lot, and have far more recreation programs in that space. There would be a lot of groups interested in it: lacrosse, rugby.”
Providing more facilities for younger children is another priority for the coming year.
PRB has been working with the Art in Public Places Board on the possibility of developing a splash pad, after receiving an email from 150 families advocating for the idea.
A recirculating pad would cost $150,000 to $200,000.
Other PRB activities include a review of the Open Space Management Plan by the Open Space Committee, with a goal of moving forward toward approval.
Since the Parks and Recreation Plan is almost 10 years old, one of the board’s goals for the upcoming year is to solicit presentations from various user groups to determine their priorities.
“I think it’s critical to engage these groups and listen to what they have to say,” Stubben said.