From left, LASCU CEO Matt Schmidt, Bathtub Row Brewing Co-op Assistant General Manager Rob Hipwood, Del Norte Credit Union Branch Manager Luis Rosales and Places and Spaces’ Kevin Holsapple gather recently on the stage at the Los Alamos Co-op Park at 1010 Central. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com
By KIRSTEN LASKEY
Los Alamos Daily Post
The Los Alamos Co-op Park, next door to the Los Alamos Schools Credit Union (LASCU) at 1010 Central Ave., is nearly completed, but the community’s help is needed to help it reach the finish line.
Phase two of the fundraising effort for the park, which is the final one, is underway until March 31. The goal is to raise $55,000 and so far, $50,487 has been raised. The funds will be used to install a canopy over the stage area and put in infrastructure to allow the park to be solar powered.
Solar power would be used for the park’s lighting as well as an electric vehicle charging station, LASCU CEO Matt Schmidt said.
“The end goal is to reach the point when the park could run on the sun,” he said, adding that he hope is to construct the canopy in July.
Work on the pocket park began April 1, 2021 and has been a community-wide collaborative effort. Several local cooperative organizations are involved in the park’s creation including LASCU, Zia Credit Union, Del Norte Credit Union, Bathtub Row Brewing Co-op, Los Alamos Cooperative Market and Little Forest Playschool.
Schmidt further pointed out that the public has stepped up and showed a lot of support of the park. He noted 160 donors have contributed to the fundraising effort and to date $146,000 has been raised. Additionally, Los Alamos Network donated $5,000 and will offer free Wifi at the park.
“Personally, I thank our collaborators,” Schmidt said. “We work well together and represent our members.”
Del Norte Credit Union Branch Manager Luis Rosales credited the successful campaign to the public’s interest in being involved in Los Alamos.
“People here in Los Alamos have a niche for community-involvement events,” he said.
Bathtub Row Brewery Assistant General Manager Rob Hipwood added, “In local cooperatives, there is a sense of awareness and wanting to see those cooperatives be successful.”
Schmidt joked that many local cooperatives also center on the essentials: food, childcare, money and beer.
With the Coop Park nearing completion, the plan is to open it up for small scale events. Scheduling is expected to be done through the Los Alamos Creative District, a program of the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation.
An event will be held soon for representatives of community groups and others who may want to use the Co-op Park. If interested, contact Jeremy Smith at the Los Alamos Creative District at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schmidt explained the idea for the park all started when the LASCU was constructing its new building and had a spot on the property that wasn’t needed for the credit union. As a result, he said the credit union reached out to Bathtub Row Brewery and the Los Alamos Cooperative to create a public space.
“We were trying to make this a space the community can use,” Schmidt said.
Development of the park is being done in two phases. The first phase, which was completed in December, involved constructing raised beds for a community garden and a stage, installing a spot for a local food truck and an outdoor education station for Little Forest.
As far as the types of events that can be held at the pocket park, the organizers offer a lengthy list of examples:
- Live concerts and performances;
- Outdoor movie screenings;
- Dance performances;
- Fitness classes; and
- Weddings and receptions.
To contribute to the final stage of the park, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/coop-park.