By Lynn FitzGerald
If you love to walk in Kit Carson Park, be sure to walk outside the park and see that most of the surrounding properties are residential. There is only a small strip of property that is commercial and that is what is located on Paseo deL Pueblo Norte.
Now imagine what it is Like living next to Kit Carson Park when the large commercial concerts are in full swing. We know the entertainers and the attendees love to be in the tree-lined, grass-covered park for their events. But how the town could think it is a good idea to subject the rest of the community to these large, too- loud and too-late events is beyond comprehension. It is inconceivable that a town government would be so self-centered not to investigate all the repercussions such decisions could have on their constituents.
This focus on turning Kit Carson Park into a cash cow has clouded the minds of those in power. They came along with this idea of turning Kit Carson Park into a rock concert destination all on their own. There was no mention of it in the park’s Master Plan. There was no mention of it in the Strong at Heart forums. No citizens have been demanding that the town develop this venue. It has been developed over the years by a few members of the town government in the back rooms of Town Hall. When citizens have tried to get information of what the town has been developing in the the park over the last few years, they have been stonewalled.
No development plans – “They are all in Mitch Miller’s head.” No contracts to review – “There are no contracts.” No financial records to back up the benefit of these events – “We don’t have any.” The full benefits of these events is still in great question.
The town of Taos says it developed the too-large, too-loud, too-late and location-inappropriate concerts in Kit Carson Park to save the town of Taos from financial ruin – to help fill the coffers. This seems very one-sided. What ever happened to diverse economic development? A small town cannot just rely on tourism to financially fuel the whole system. Most towns have an economic development director to work on the total view of what can help fuel a town’s diverse financial path. Where is ours?
The park’s Master Plan talks about the economic value of parks:
“Parks improve the local tax base and increase property values. It is proven that private property values increase the vaLue of privately owned land the closer such land is to parks. This increase in private property value due to the proximity to parks increases property tax revenues and improves local economies.”
I would like to hear what the residential property owners are saying now after a weekend of the Vortex event.
At the Friends of Kit Carson Park Public Forum on Aug. 14, a council member said, “The definition of a park in the Deed and Joint Powers Agreement is vague.” So therefore they can determine what a park should be? Let’s go back and see what the definition of a park was when these documents were written. That may be the key. I am not sure it meant they could put a three-ring circus in the middle of Kit Carson Park.
In effect, that is just what they have done.
Lynn FitzGerald is a Taos resident and Friend of Kit Carson Park. Find out more at kcparkfriends.com.