Residents want work on JPJ Complex stopped

-A A +A
By Jennifer Garcia

Some concerned residents voiced their opinions on the location of the skate park and circulated a petition in an effort to get council to reconsider the location.


Despite their efforts, the park was built in front of Mesa Public Library.


Now, another group of residents have presented the county with a petition opposing the Judicial/Police/Jail Complex.


Groundbreaking for the JPJ Complex was held in October and work on the property surrounding the proposed complex site began last month, however, the county did not receive the petition, signed by 20 Los Alamos residents, until Nov. 24.


The reasons given for the petition state the residents who signed it feel that the “current project is not best for the town and the citizens of Los Alamos because the current project is too large in size, too high in cost, and not ideal in location. However, the citizen group endorses a Judiciary Complex with a modest size and cost on an alternative location.”


The petition also states that those who signed it wish for work on the complex to be stopped. One of the signers is Min Park, owner of Central Avenue Grill.


Park said he circulated the petition because he feels the county is taking the most important part of town for a function that might not be of primary importance to the county.


“It’s debatable in my mind,” Park said, “at this point, we don’t know where the municipal building will go. It’s (the JPJ Complex) too big for the size of the town, the rate of crime and the number of inmates.”


He also said the county is wasting a significant part of town, which could be of better use to residents. In addition, he feels that the county needs to develop the entire site between Oppenheimer and Trinity and suggested that the area could be used for green space, an amphitheater, or perhaps the new municipal building.


When asked why he waited until after the JPJ groundbreaking to circulate the petition, Park said, “I realize it’s a “23rd-hour petition, but I think the county staff and council have to understand the price of the impact they are creating for our town.”


Council Chairman Jim Hall said that he’s willing to hear the petitioners’ issues, but is afraid that anything the county does will have a tremendous cost.


“I’ve heard from people lately about how they’re concerned about cost. We’ll accept the petition on Tuesday night and see what council wants to do.”


He said he understands people’s concerns about it because he also had concerns about the complex in the past.


“I voiced my concerns, but council went ahead with it,” he said. He also stated there has been a lot of discussion and debate regarding the complex, but the decision was made to forge ahead with building plans.


“Reversing the decision would be very expensive,” he pointed out.


In regard to the municipal building, Hall said one of the goals of council has been to use the municipal building as an anchor to revitalize downtown and putting the new building at the JPJ site would inconsistent with that goal.


Guaranteed Maximum Price #1 in the amount of $2,656,658 was awarded to the Construction Manager at Risk, HB Construction, on Oct. 14.


GMP #2 will be presented to council during the Dec. 16 meeting. If approved, the green light will be given for building construction to begin.