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Some people, 1,679 to be exact, are claiming that the old Municipal Building was so sentimental to them that it stood for Los Alamos. They signed a petition that states “the original Los Alamos County Municipal Building dedicated June 24, 1967 shall be fully rebuilt and restored to its original site and design...” End of quote.
But the heart of Los Alamos is not in the old Municipal Building, it’s in the spirit of its people. The people who stayed on to continue research after the Manhattan Project did it because they knew there were more discoveries to be made and they believed in progress. That same spirit exists today.
Let’s build an energy efficient, beautiful municipal complex on Central Avenue as the site selection committee of our residents recommended and the county council affirmed. This is a location that can benefit the other half of the downtown area. Perhaps new retail and eateries will follow in the site across the street. Save the grassy area of Ashley Pond where the former municipal building had been for picnics, weddings, concerts, movies, Shakespeare in the Park and just a place to sit and enjoy our wonderful mountain setting.
While we are being practical, the Historical Society has been patiently waiting for a safe, climate-controlled place for their archives, a place easily accessible to the public for research. Why not house them on the first floor of the new Municipal Building along with the county records? Maybe Los Alamos Public Schools will reconsider its new location and share the Central Avenue site with the county. There could be separate buildings for the school administration and municipal offices but they could share one large meeting chamber and the parking lot between them. The money saved from doing this could be put into making them quality buildings.
The lot on Central Avenue is certainly big enough for the both of them, and it’s ready now. Please consider all of these options when you vote on this issue in December, read the ballot carefully. Do you want to put the Municipal Building back on the pond, same size, same design, same inefficiencies?
Note: This is my view and not necessarily that of the committee.
Irene Powell, member
Municipal Site Selection Committee 2009