In response to Stephanie Nakhleh’s post on the “Fear of Heights” we would like to address one of the misleading pictures that was posted in her column (link).
This picture of an “empty lot and trash” is actually the parking lot of the Los Alamos Elks Lodge. We are a fraternal organization that was established locally in 1958.
The Lodge was built in 1962 on this property. We have a long-standing history with this community. Our main charter is charitable works within our community. We annually provide over $30K in donations to various causes, as well as scholarships to local students.
Additionally, we are the main sponsor of the annual Easter Egg hunt, which was just conducted at Ashley Pond in cooperation with the Los Alamos Police and Fire Departments and a local community church. We have hosted a community Thanksgiving dinner for over 10 years.
We work closely with the local VFW and American Legion in planning and support of the community Memorial and Veteran Days celebration and yearly host a Flag Day ceremony at our Lodge.
The picture above was taken from the south-west corner of our private property. The (“jersey”) concrete barriers are there for safety, given the relative proximity of the canyon. The one that is at an angle was dislodged due to being pushed over during snow removal this winter and will be corrected later this spring, as time permits. The single pallet has since been disposed of.
As a volunteer organization, we maintain our property the best we can. We have had several projects over recent years to improve its visual aesthetics. We installed a privacy fence and added landscaping on the Trinity side of our property and maintain our grounds multiple times during the year. We have brought in asphalt tailings to improve the base of the parking lot and are continually looking at ways to improve the grounds.
I believe it is important to note that the Elks Lodge has never been contacted directly by the County or the group working on the Downtown Master Plan to discuss the impact of the proposed extension of the Canyon Rim Trail through our property. There seems to be an assumption that there are no issues with the proposed action.
While this is still in a formative stage, there are liability issues to consider, ones that could warrant legal consultation on our behalf. This is not county owned land and if anyone is injured on our property while on the trail or while parking in our lot, we could be held responsible. We have struggled with this issue over the past years and currently have posted multiple private parking signs around our property to deter the use of this area by people who are not involved in Elks events. We were not contacted to request permission to access our property for this picture. I am not sure who took the picture, but they were trespassing!
The Los Alamos Elks Lodge is committed to working with our community and local County organizations to improve the quality of life for everyone who lives here. Our membership consists of people that live in Los Alamos County, the Jemez, and Rio Arriba County. We have a vested responsibility and interest to make this town a place where people want to live and make it their home. We rely on people who live in this county to be part of our membership. Without them we would not exist. We look forward to being a part of improving the downtown area and being contacted by our county leaders to be part of the solution.