Opinion: Time for us to take back Kit Carson Park

By Joan Pond, Taos
Posted 7/25/19

It is with sadness that I witness the destruction of Kit Carson Park. Kit Carson Park was a community park for the people of Taos meant for recreation for its residents. When I was …

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Opinion: Time for us to take back Kit Carson Park

Posted

It is with sadness that I witness the destruction of Kit Carson Park. Kit Carson Park was a community park for the people of Taos meant for recreation for its residents. When I was growing up, Kit Carson Park and the plaza were our playgrounds; a place where we would go to meet our friends, play ball, ice skate, have a picnic, walk, run, play hide-and-seek, walk on stilts, kick the can and jump rope; a place where our parents knew we were safe.

We had an ice skating pond that the Taos Volunteer Fire Department flooded at night and it was our responsibility to keep the snow off and keep the ice smooth. We learned responsibility by taking care of the pond and park. The only noise were the children yelling and laughing and having a good time with their families. We didn't disturb the peace and quiet of our town, nor our neighborhood.

I see trees being cut down, tree roots being disturbed - turning our park into a music/movie venue that doesn't meet the definition of a community park. The huge stage is ugly and simply does not belong in Kit Carson Park. The movies are so loud that they can be heard for blocks - the big bands produce music that shakes, rattles and thumps people's houses for miles including old neighborhoods. Residents can no longer enjoy the peace and quiet of their homes.

The park has no restrooms, no drinking fountains or a place to wash our hands; a sanitation problem that my parents worked hard to resolve in the 1930s. Renovations that are being done appear to be not for our community's benefit but for the benefit of large crowds that will add to our traffic and noise that we pay for. How much is all this costing us to provide for commercial concerts? Do we need roadways through the park to haul in big and ugly bandstands, mobile toilet trailers and heavy-duty equipment to accommodate large crowds?

It appears that the recommendations of the town of Taos Parks and Recreation Master Plan that the town adopted in 2018 is not being followed. Why are plans for the renovations not published in the Taos News?

Most of us walked or rode our bikes to the park. Currently, local and tourist traffic is causing long lines and traffic jams within the plaza and Kit Carson area. Parking is almost nonexistent for locals to shop in and around town. What are we going to do with 9,000 people attending the Sting concert? Is this what we, the Taos community, want? One newcomer to Taos said, "I came here to get away from such things like this. I wanted to live my last couple of decades in a place where peace, quiet, silent spirit and the Earth reign."

Why are we disturbing the peace and quiet of our town and its residents? The town bought land for an amphitheater on Salazar Road in 2006 for almost a million dollars to provide a venue for their big band concerts. The town also owns land near the airport that would be a better place to hold their concerts.

Let's return our park to its original purpose and let the traffic and loud music go north or south as previously planned.

As someone who grew up in Taos, who currently lives in Taos and cares that places like Kit Carson Park are a proud legacy we leave for future generations to enjoy, I urge my fellow Taoseños to help take back our park.

Joan F. Pond lives in Taos

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