Letter to the editor: Serious problem needs to be addressed in Alamosa

To Mayor Coleman:

I am contacting you with regard to an experience I had yesterday (3/20/2018) in Alamosa, as well as about similar experiences I’ve had lately that have been quite concerning. I would greatly appreciate your taking the time to read this and to reply.

Yesterday afternoon, just prior to the genealogy class I am taking at the Alamosa Library, I entered the public restrooms inside the building. There were backpacks, bags, etc., all over the floor and water was splashed EVERYWHERE. So much so that the entire floor was slick, making it dangerous enough that a person could very easily slip and fall. There were two young women present, both of whom had apparently just finished “bathing” in the sinks and dressing. It was 100 percent apparent that this is what had just happened, as their hair was wet, the mirror area above the sinks was completely “fogged” and there was a lot of humidity/steam present in the air. One of the women had a newborn baby on the baby changing station and was “bathing” it. After I finished using the restroom, I had to step over their backpacks/bags/etc. in an attempt to get to the sink in order to wash my hands. They had apparently used most of the soap in the dispensers, as I had to go down the line (while continuing to step over backpacks/bags/etc.) until I was finally able to get soap out of the last dispenser. Then, I had to ask one of them to please move from where she was leaning against the paper towel dispenser so I could get a paper towel to dry my hands. They both just looked at me as if I had no business being in the restroom and she only barely moved enough for me to reach behind her to retrieve a paper towel. I have to tell you, I was not at ALL pleased with this scenario. And it is becoming a more and more common occurrence in our community. I hear people complaining about similar experiences all the time...when I am working, shopping, dining, attending any event...everywhere.

I used to frequently drive to town to walk the trail that runs along the river, from Cole Park across the State Street bridge and past the golf course. I stopped doing that probably three years ago, as I began encountering people who made me feel unsafe. I then confined my walks to Cole Park, but stopped doing that last summer, because I began having to step over or walk around really nasty-looking people who were loitering and lying about on the ground, sometimes even on the paved track that runs around the perimeter of the park. At first, there were only one or two people like that, but the last time I walked there, I encountered TEN, so I decided it was no longer safe for me to walk there either, especially as an older woman. And I had already noticed the restrooms that one can normally access outside the library were remaining locked...the timing of which happened to coincide with the appearance of these nasty-looking people who were lying around in the park. Again, I have heard a lot of people complaining about this same experience. Everywhere I go.

Recently, while at a business establishment in Alamosa, I overheard a conversation between several people. They were asking each other how they’d ended up in Alamosa, and their stories were basically the same. They’d “heard through the grapevine” that if you went to Alamosa you’d “have it made because there are LOTS of FREE services there...free places to stay, free meals, free clothing, free everything.” They were all in agreement that in Alamosa, one can apparently get these FREE services forever, it’s great! One of them said he’d been living in Denver and saw a flyer posted about all the FREE stuff in Alamosa. He said he’d never go back to Denver because he’d gotten LOTS more FREE stuff since landing in Alamosa. Another said he’d been living out of state, but heard the same thing about Alamosa, so that’s why he came too....for the FREE stuff. What this kind of despicable thing amounts to, really, is enabling apparently anybody who wants to, to take advantage of and live off the tax-paying citizens of our community, apparently indefinitely. And as one of those tax-paying citizens, I’m telling you...THAT ISN”T FAIR!!! And these should NOT be the kind of people we try to attract to our community or to keep in our community!!!

My husband and I work part-time at a small business in Alamosa, to supplement our retirement income. We used to drive over to Zapata Park in Alamosa to enjoy our lunch. No more! A while back, nasty-looking people began loitering there, so we started sitting in our vehicle to eat instead of at a picnic table, as the picnic tables were being used as “beds” by these people. And they’d started trashing up the bathrooms at the park, “bathing” in the sinks and doing their laundry. This occurs in the middle of the day, when these able-bodied young people SHOULD be working! My husband and I have always worked and paid our own way and are retired, yet we’re still working part-time (well, SOMEBODY has to work and pay taxes!); they’re young and able-bodied and NOT working...see anything wrong with this picture? I have talked to people who live near this (and other) parks in Alamosa, and they have expressed the fact that they are afraid to take their children &/or grandchildren to our parks because of these same issues. The very people who are paying taxes for the upkeep of these parks are AFRAID to use them! Does that get your attention? 

My husband and I sold everything we had so we could afford to retire and move to this area about 10 years ago, which we considered our Eden. We wanted to live out the rest of our lives here, so we bought land and built a nice retirement home in Alamosa County, not far from Great Sand Dunes National Park. With the current state of things in Alamosa and the general area, we’re beginning to wonder if this was a big mistake! As tax-paying citizens of Alamosa County, is it fair to us to feel unsafe in our own little town (Alamosa) and community??? NO, it is NOT! What about our friends who come to visit, as well as tourists...are these the images we REALLY want to project to them about our community? NO, it is NOT...at least it most certainly shouldn’t be!

The concerns I’ve expressed here are very real, and are the same concerns that many, many others in our community also have. As a tax-paying citizen, I am respectfully asking for a reply, addressing these concerns and what I (and the rest of the community) can expect to see being done about each of them, and exactly when we can expect to see it.



P.S. As of March 31 the author had not received a reply from the city.


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