Letter To The Editor: 2017 Rec Bond

By MELANEE HAND
Los Alamos
 
This message reflects my personal view about the upcoming 2017 Rec Bond and does not represent a statement or position from any other organization where I am involved, including the Los Alamos County Parks and Recreation Board. I currently serve as the chair of the Los Alamos County Parks and Recreation Board.
 
On Feb. 14, Los Alamos County Council unanimously passed the resolution to hold a special election for a $20 million recreation bond. The special election will be
held through mail-in ballots due May 23, 2017.
 
Please consider supporting Los Alamos Rec Bond 2017. We need the majority of Los Alamos and White Rock voters to mail in their “yes” vote for the bond to pass. 
 
This recreation bond helps all ages in our community get something back from our investment. Even if you might not use these facilities, there are benefits for our economy, helping our town and businesses to thrive. The projects from Los Alamos Rec Bond 2017, in concert with the Manhattan Project National Historic Park, Valles Caldera and Bandelier National Monument, will help attract visitors to our town.
 
With tourists coming from all over the country, quality recreation facilities have the potential to extend a visitor’s stay here and to encourage future visits. We need this tourism to support our local businesses. Los Alamos County is dependent on the federal R&D facility across the bridge, but daytime business diminishes after work hours. I believe we need the extra business on weekends and off-work- hours to help our businesses thrive.
 
Los Alamos Rec Bond 2017 will support a wide range of interests and groups in our community. There are projects for just about every type of user group: Young families get a cool splash pad for the kids. 
 
Everyone can enjoy the multi-generational leisure pool at the Aquatic Center. 
 
Organized sports teams of all ages gain much needed space in an indoor Recreation Center, which can potentially augment other recreation program facilities. There has been some recent discussion that the recreation facility could also become an event center. We could have a more reliable sheet of ice for competitive hockey tournaments, and reduce the demand on the outside ice with its weather constraints.
 
Providing a part-time indoor space for ice sports provides additional use for roller derby and other activities, and does not mean that our outdoor ice rink goes away. Our existing ice rink facility is also valuable, and can complement an array of year-round recreation activities throughout our community.
 
Golfers of all ages could enjoy the improvements to our golf course. I have listened to many briefings concerning the decades of decay to the greens. Improving the quality of the greens and the irrigation system could attract more business for the Golf Course and our community. 
 
Softball players and spectators benefit from an improved outdoor ball field in White Rock that currently has some functional issues.
 
Another angle to consider is how health and wellness is supported by recreation facilities. Good health goes hand-in- hand with physical activity; these facilities support that year-round. People are likelier to participate in fitness if they are actually having fun while they exercise. We might be able to encourage a decrease in long-term illness through the availability of comfortable and enjoyable recreation space. 
 
Some citizens might argue that they don’t use facilities like these, so why should their taxes increase, even by a small amount, to fund someone else’s recreation interests? These facilities provide entertainment for all— spectators and participants.
 
I appreciate anything you can do to support Los Alamos Rec Bond 2017 and to encourage others in the community to mail in their ballot with a “yes” vote. Our residents can benefit from long-term community investments like this, and I’m not sure if our community will have another chance for a recreation bond anytime soon.
 
Funds for recreation facilities have decreased in comparison with other Los Alamos County investments over the past several years, according to recent news articles
and reports.
 
Relative to other communities, this bond tax is a small increase. If you want more specific information on the amount of tax that could impact you, please visit the LA County website about the 2017 recreation bond projects. An easy-to-use calculator is available on the website to help you estimate the amount of tax associated with your property value.
 
Thank you for your support.
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