Council Chair Sara Scott: Update On Community Projects And Initiatives

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Los Alamos County Council Chair

In this note I’m providing an update on the status of current projects and initiatives in our community – as noted in my May update regarding development efforts, even during these challenging times there is a lot going on. These projects will have an important longer-term impact on infrastructure and quality of life. 

However, I’d like to start by recognizing that, as many of you know by now, we’ve had another positive COVID-19 test. This is an important reminder that we are, and will continue to be, living with the virus among us. It will spread given the opportunity. Staying home unless necessary, wearing face coverings and keeping six feet apart when we are out in public continue to be the best ways to minimize transmission. In this way each one of us can also have an impact on the health and well-being of our community and have a real role in promoting the safe and expanded operations of our businesses. Small actions have made and will continue to make a big difference.

Throughout the pandemic, the County staff has done an amazing job of keeping essential operations running smoothly and working to increase services to our citizens, consistent with the Public Health Order. In the last month, proactive efforts to plan for this gradual increase in County services have paid off. I’ve heard many positive comments regarding the availability of the library for curbside service and the operation of the aquatic center and golf course. 

In addition, the County continues to work hard and make progress on multiple recreational amenities and infrastructure projects; these are projects that many of the community have been looking forward to, so I wanted to provide updates on their status. These include roof replacements at the aquatic center and airport, roadway improvements on Barranca Mesa, golf course improvements, and updated community wayfinding signage. Below are some additional highlights. 

  • Ice Rink Improvements. Locker Room/restroom expansion and other building improvements are under construction with a planned completion in October 2020.
  • Trinity Drive Pedestrian and ADA Improvements. The County was awarded a $250,000 state grant for the repair and replacement of sidewalk, ADA ramps, curb and gutter along Trinity Drive and construction is scheduled to begin before the end of June 2020 pending final approvals.
  • Pinon Park Splash Pad. Construction of a new Splash Pad at Pinon Park in White Rock is scheduled to start late June/early July and continue through September 2020.
  • Golf Course Irrigation Replacement. Contractor is mobilizing and contractor is starting work this week with substantial completion planned for November 30, 2020. 
  • Golf Course Site Development Improvements and Amenities. The contract for this work is under final review. Improvements include safety netting on the driving range and hole 2, rehabilitation of greens, sand bunker rehabilitation and drainage, tee-box rehabilitation and orientation, renovation of the hole 13 restroom, and four weather shelters – work is scheduled to be completed by Spring of 2021.
  • Canyon Trail Underpass. Final agreements with the NMDOT are under review and bids for construction of a tunnel underneath NM 502 connecting the eastern Canyon Rim Trailhead to the Entrada are due mid-July.
  • Kiddie Pool Addition. Design documents are being reviewed and finalized. Bidding the construction of the project is scheduled for July 2020 with a late August/early September Council consideration of the construction contract award.

Looking ahead to Council discussions regarding other initiatives and potential actions I’d like to highlight a few items. A presentation regarding the White Rock and Los Alamos Downtown Master Planning effort is scheduled for the July 7 County Council meeting. This will include the current condition summary, a path forward for implementing this effort, and plans for community engagement. The overall goal of the effort is, in the context of upcoming potential commercial and housing developments, to make sure these areas are developed in a smart and responsible way that serve our community’s needs. On July 28, the Community Development Advisory Board will provide their annual update to Council on their efforts; comments regarding a draft request for proposals supporting nuisance code updates will be a part of this briefing. Additionally, we plan to hear a proposal from the Department of Public Utilities regarding a proposed path forward for the Carbon Free Power Project. Please note that these dates are tentative until final agendas are published.

As we continue to navigate the pandemic and support each other, please don’t forget to take care of yourselves. While the current reopening guidance is encouraging and provides opportunities we’ve been missing, I know that many continue to struggle. The County help line (662-8333) is one option for helping you find needed support and resources as we continue to work through current and future challenges together.