By BILL GENTILE
When looking at the controversial Los Alamos Proposed Recreational Bond Project, I believe it is important to focus on the two big-ticket items in the proposal: the recreational center and the multi-generational pool.
These two projects account for 81 percent of the construction costs and 94 percent of the projected annual operations/maintenance budget.
The recreational center has two major parts; the gym and the ice rink. Regarding the gym, is anyone making the argument that we need more gym space than what is available at LAHS (main & aux gyms), LAMS, our five elementary schools, the YMCA, the Pueblo School… Join the Y if you want gym access – you’re going to have to pay entry fees at the $18.4M Rec Center anyway. And the Y has workout equipment, racquetball, a climbing wall… None of that is proposed for the Rec Center. So much money for so little added opportunity from what we already have in town today.
Regarding the ice rink, I am lost. While I understand that the past upgrade at the outdoor ice rink did not extend the season as much as promised, I question why not go with the 2012 researched roof proposals that are so much less costly? That study, CIP-035-1, offered up roof (including retractable so skaters can still see the stars) options from $2.7M to $3.2M, with annual maintenance costs of $1K. That puts the proposed Rec Center at about 6x’s the cost to build. And is anyone arguing that we really need more ice availability for this little town? And for all the activities on the rink planned for the summer, we have the same opportunities now at the outdoor rink. This is amazing duplication for the few users of this town.
Fair Solution: Join the Y. Put a roof on our beautiful existing ice rink. Saves taxpayers $15M initially and $1M annually.
The multi-generational pool proposal offers a waterslide and a zero entry pool. Like the ice rink, this is available today in Santa Fe – and some of our community pools offer up kiddie pools and smaller water slides. Are these so inadequate that it requires a $8.7M addition to the Aquatic Center? An addition that looks amazingly similar to what was sounded voted down by voters back in 2011. Well, except that 2011 proposal looked ever better, although it cost $2.5M less than the 2017 proposal.
Fair Solution: Build the $700K splash pad, join your community pools. Save taxpayers $8.7M initially and $426K annually.
Vote No and tell County Council that your vote will not be ‘bundled’. Let’s support and not abandon what we already have. Let us take the time and effort to do the right things at the right price. Things we need, not mortgaging our future for things that would be ‘nicer’.