Top County Stories For 2016

Officials unveil the new National Register of Historic Places plaque for the US Post Office in downtown Los Alamos. From left, Councilor Pete Sheehey, Museum Director Emeritus Hedy Dunn, Fuller Lodge Historic Districts Advisory Board Chair Mark Rayburn, Los Alamos Historical Society Executive Director Heather Reed McClenahan and Los Alamos Historian Nancy R. Bartlit. Photo by Chris Clark/

Staff Report:

The Los Alamos County Council’s direction in March to move ahead with conceptual design and probable estimates of cost for the eight recreation projects and three economic development projects is of major importance to the community.

It proved to be one of the most significant efforts for soliciting public feedback and design ideas for possible new projects that the County has made in the last few years. The effort included the County’s focus on public and stakeholder meetings, community outreach at a variety of venues like the Los Alamos County Fair and weekly Farmer’s Market, as well as a dedicated project website and high level of direct Councilor involvement – key in moving the projects ahead in just seven months – and the decision last fall to take the designs to the next level for the Economic Development projects, to their decision Dec. 20 on which of the eight recreation projects to include in a bond election in May 2017.

At the Dec. 20 Council meeting, the Council directed staff to develop the bond question that establishes a bond request of $20 million for a May 2017 all mail ballot. The Council also directed staff to develop a plan for advertising and promoting the selected projects in advance of a May election.

The projects the Council selected for the bond election are a multi-generational pool, golf course improvements, splash pad, softball field improvements and a multi-use recreation/indoor ice arena complex. The Council decided against including new tennis courts and existing ice rink improvements in the bond package.

The vote culminated a 16-month process of reviewing recreation project options. The meeting had a standing room only audience of about 200 people. Numerous people spoke during public comment including young people representing hockey, softball and basketball. At the meeting, the Dekker Perich Sabatini (DPS) team gave a presentation, which included opinions of probable costs as well as projected operations and maintenance costs for the eight proposed recreation projects.

Other events worth noting in the County this year include the celebration of the US Post Office in downtown Los Alamos being placed on the National Register of Historic Places in May. Also, this year’s annual Sciencefest and its themed Spy Tour drew thousands of visitors to the community and recently won a special award.

The completion and adoption in November of the Comprehensive Plan update was another major milestone for the County this year. And finally, the opening of Canyon Rim Trail Phase 2 earlier this month. Officials gathered at the Pedestrian Bridge to cut the ribbon on the asphalt-surfaced 7,600-foot trail south of N.M. 502 between the guard tower and the East Road Fire Station.