Public provides ideas

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Projects include erecting a neighborhood sound barrier

By Carol A. Clark

Community members gathered in the Community Building Wednesday to present ideas about projects they hope to see Los Alamos County build.

Community Development Director Rick Bohn facilitated the meeting.

Judge Alan Kirk was among the people presenting ideas that may be submitted for Capital Improvement Projects.

Kirk was the first presenter at the event. His project is a Juvenile Justice Center, which he and the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board envision as a place for teens to gather. “We’ve identified some gaps in the community,” Kirk said. “This could be a technology center, a snack bar, a dance center … a Monday through Sunday facility where kids can come and hang out.”

Bob Nolen, president of the Los Alamos Tennis Club proposed a tennis center possibly on the golf course, with 10 tennis courts, four of which could be covered for winter use. His project includes storage for bubble covers for the four courts along with restrooms and lights.

Parks Division Manager Dick McIntyre and Los Alamos County Open Space Specialist Craig Martin presented their projects together. McIntyre had two projects including public restrooms to be located along Central Avenue. He also proposed improvements to Ashley Pond.  

Martin also presented two proposals. The first involves developing a recreational park plan for the Los Alamos Reservoir, which would include restrooms and parking and connections to nearby trails. The project would involve working closely with New Mexico Game and Fish to study the feasibility of stocking the reservoir with fish.

Martin also presented a proposal to extend the Canyon Rim Trail by 3,000 feet from DP Road to Knecht Street.

“This will pull it in to the downtown area,” Martin said.

“It connects to the 7,000 foot-long path we have already.”

Steve Brugger from the Community Development Department spoke about a proposal to study potential sites in White Rock to build a combination senior center, town hall and branch library might be built.

Katy Korkos, a member of White Rock Master Plan Implementation Steering Committee, explained that Brugger’s proposal is a result of work completed by that committee, which recommended additional sites be studied beyond the location originally included in the White Rock Master Plan.

Capital Improvement Projects Director Anne Laurent said that she intends to propose a Phase I study of the Community Building now that the municipal court has moved into the Justice Center and council chambers will eventually be housed in the new Municipal Building.

“I’ve heard all kinds of comments (for repurposing the building),” Laurent said. “I want to work with the public and get all the ideas out on the table.”

Recreation Director Randy Smith proposed developing a Phase I application for improvements and updates to the Los Alamos Ice Rink, including the warming hut, changing rooms, the parking lot and sewer. Smith also mentioned improvements to the golf course and aquatic center.

Residents of the Eastern Area brought up two issues facing their neighborhood. Resident Jim Little suggested erecting a sound barrier to protect the neighborhood from high-speed and truck traffic noise from N.M. 502.

Resident Mary Bard received immediate attention from Public Works Director Kyle Zimmerman when she spoke about the condition of the sidewalks from Tewa Loop to Canyon Road. Zimmerman gave her his card and said that his department was aware of the problem and was in contact with the State Department of Transportation, in whose right-of-way the sidewalk lies.

County Emergency Management Specialist Philmont Taylor proposed a Phase I study to look at a county owned and operated radio system. He explained that because different entities are using different radio systems, the current state of affairs is not sufficient to coordinate emergency management.

“This is not good,” Taylor said, citing the recent van crash and subsequent fire at Quemazon Montessori. Multiple entities were called to the scene and had to try to communicate with one another including police, fire and the utilities department in addition to coordinating the evacuation of students and staff.

The county’s Capital Improvement Committee provided the residents at Wednesday’s event with guidance for submitting their Phase I proposals for consideration. Along with Bohn, Zimmerman, Public Information Officer Julie Habiger, Chief Financial Officer Steven Lynne and Department of Public Utilities Director John Arrowsmith comprise committee. Residents can submit proposals through Aug. 24.

Editor’s note: Katy Korkos contributed to this story.