Letter to the editor: Where have all the good leaders gone?

When this whole Rio Bravo RV Park scenario cropped up with 500 spaces and a land swap with the city, like many other quirky ideas that some people (Randy Wright, et al) drool over, such as the ludicrous plan for 24 baseball fields out in Saudi Flats, spewing “economic development” trumps everything, I figured I’d just sit back and watch it play out. After all, the city has an intelligent manager, attorney and council. Doesn’t it? They were going to have numerous town hall meetings, open up proposals for uses of the ranch to everybody, get appraisals, vet the people involved and then make a good, sound decision. Weren’t they? Well, now that I see how this is going, I decided it was time to raise my hand and say something.

First of all, the developers of the Rio Bravo had months if not years to formulate their RV park plan. They had time to anticipate probable concerns and come up with plausible solutions. Because they assumed, as anyone would, that the land swap idea would be problematic in the community, they knew that they had to forecast and be able to spout how much positive economic impact the plan would have on Alamosa and the entire SLV. In a feigned effort to be “transparent” and not appear to be biased, the city decided to open the ranch up to the public for other proposals. The only problem here is that they only allowed 10 days or so for anyone else to come up with an idea, indicate why the community would benefit from it, and show how much economic impact it would have. Two weeks is not nearly enough time for anyone to logically formulate a reasonable plan let alone decipher all the ins and outs required by the RFP.

Next, they hired Timothy L. Walters, MIA to appraise the two properties. Now Mr. Walters has been around a good long time. We’re fortunate he’s had to defer his retirement for so long to still be available. His services are not cheap, however, and I’m sure it cost us taxpayers several thousand dollars for his “expertise.” Although there is reasonable dismay by the majority of people at his conclusions, they hired him to do a job. Why then, did they ignore his results and opt to trade city land for private land at nearly a two to one ratio? They may as well have rolled up whatever it is they are smoking in $100 bills and burned it, rather than use it to pay Mr. Walters for something they were just going to wipe their butts with. Another feigned attempt to follow proper protocol.

Last but not least, why are we subsidizing Rio Bravo to the tune of $150,000 in a trade of city land for private land? Again, we all understand the purported economic impact of an RV Park, but guess what? Wade Price is already building one here in town without being subsidized by taxpayers. Another group was planning one out by Splashland (a much more logical location with its infrastructure, highway access, and pool already in place.) Their plans did not include any welfare from the government. I have to imagine the decisions to subsidize Rio Bravo impacted their decision not to move forward. Private enterprise will do what the market wants without government intervention. All I can say is that if it looks like dog crap, smells like dog crap, and feels like dog crap … it’s probably dog crap. You still have time to make this right. Please do not move forward with the land swap and/or permit the RV park. From our clown of a United States president down, where have all the good leaders gone?


Neil Richardson



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