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We see this inspiring statement everywhere, including the banner of the county’s web site. Our Chamber of Commerce, visitor attractions, and local businesses continually work to achieve this simple notion: Los Alamos is a place where we actively explore, discover and learn.
Assuming we agree with this notion (for the benefit of our residents and in working to attract visitors and new residents who are our future), shouldn’t we also then invest in facilities and programs that promote and develop this notion?
I encourage our county council to consider the broad and diverse benefit for the dollar that can be leveraged with a strong and sustainable Nature Center in Los Alamos.
Granted, council is facing tough fiscal commitment decisions as it evaluates the merits and costs of five worthy CIP projects. Yes, it would be wonderful to proceed with them all and yes, they each serve important citizen needs.
But, it is worth noting: a new Nature Center serves the entire array of citizens represented by council.
Specifically, a Nature Center would be an asset enjoyed by all ages … toddlers, kids, teens, parents, and seniors! In addition, it would serve local residents, our regional neighbors, and visiting tourists.
A permanent Nature Center would leverage and strengthen investments already being made here: our public schools, UNM-LA, parks and recreation programs, the libraries, Family Y, Visitor Centers, Bandelier, our museums, etc. The synergistic opportunities are plentiful!
As a parent, past county marketing officer, past director of the chamber and visitor Centers, and long-time realtor, I have seen through different lenses the value a Nature Center brings to Los Alamos.
When citizens are surveyed about what they like here, the natural surroundings and kid friendly environment top the list.
When leaders talk about ways to strengthen our community and local economy, concepts focused on education, diversification, sustainability, and leveraging our surroundings have always topped the list.
So, when considering the various CIP projects, please include “best bang for the buck” and the notion of discovery in your decision criteria.