County Manager Harry Burgess presents his annual report to a full house Thursday at UNM-LA. Courtesy photo
Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess
Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess delivered his annual report to a packed house during the February Chamber Breakfast Thursday at UNM-LA.
His presentation was originally scheduled for Jan. 16 but postponed by a snowstorm.
Burgess said that 2019 has been a year that has brought many positive changes and exciting new paths forward for the community.
He explained that one of the biggest highlights was an advancement in the number and types of housing units that are moving ahead: Mirador Subdivision initiated its first phase of homes in White Rock, apartments known as “The Hill” south of Trinity took design plans to the Planning & Zoning Commission, the Black Hole property was sold to a private housing developer, the proposed Canyon Walk Apartments closed on their property acquisition and a new Seniors housing development was approved nearby on DP Road.
Most of these projects will be under construction in 2020, adding urgently needed housing to Los Alamos, which is rapidly growing, thanks to a hiring boom at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Burgess said.
The other big news this year was the approval of a development agreement that will bring a new Marriott hotel to Los Alamos, located at 20th and Trinity. Marriott will build an 86-room hotel as well as a new conference center that can seat up to 300 people for large events. Marriott will manage the new conference center, which has been an urgent need identified in economic development plans for well over a decade, Burgess said.
Projects related to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park continued to make great strides. The Council funded the first phase of wayfinding signage for tourists, relocated the Los Alamos Visitor Center to space on the northern side of the Community Building downtown, purchased a historical property associated with the Manhattan Project, and work got underway on implementing actions in the Fuller Lodge Interpretative Plan, he said.
In addition, Burgess added that capital projects for four quality of life initiatives were funded and are presently moving from design to construction: a Kiddie Pool addition to the Aquatic Center, a Splash Pad for White Rock, Golf Course irrigation replacement, and improvements at the Ice Rink. Construction is likely to begin occurring late in 2020 and most projects should be open for the community to enjoy by 2021.
Infrastructure projects also took center stage this year – most noticeably with the State Department of Transportation’s NM502 roundabout project; County staff coordinated outreach with commuters and nearby businesses to support the community’s needs and resolve concerns with traffic or access, he said. After a harsh winter, Diamond Drive was in critical need of repaving, and the Public Works Department successfully applied for emergency funds from the State for over $4 million and rapidly completed the restoration of the road in just a few short months.
“In closing, I am proud of the projects we are moving forward this year to bring about changes and improvements to Los Alamos County, while continuing to keep our focus on providing our citizens with the best, cost effective services every day. My door is always open to you – please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns,” Burgess said.
To read the full 2019 Annual Report, click here.