ALAMOSA — Changes to city parks, gateways and municipal building landscaping can improve Alamosa’s appearances but still be “water smart.”
In a work session on Wednesday, Alamosa City Manager Heather Brooks and City Planning Specialist Daniel Vaughn (who also has a master’s degree in landscape architecture) presented recommendations from the Water Smart team.
To implement all of the recommendations would cost $436,259 in materials and equipment, and that does not count labor costs, but the city could start chipping away at the improvements with $30,000 currently in the budget. Brooks reminded the council that the city had budgeted $15,000 for such efforts last year but did not spend it, and this year’s budget also has $15,000 in it, so there is $30,000 available this year for these types of projects.
Brooks said the Water Smart team has been meeting for a couple of years or more and has developed a list of recommendations that would conserve water throughout the city and improve gateway aesthetics. The recommendations primarily deal with city-owned property like city parks, the cemetery and areas around city hall and the rec center.
She said the improvements are recommended to beautify the city, but that does not necessarily mean the landscaping improvements have to involve grass. Efforts can be attractive and use less water at the same time, she said.
“We don’t want it to be ugly,” she said.
The council talked about whether the city crews could provide the labor for these projects. City Parks/Recreation Director Andy Rice said the city crews could probably work in some of the projects but not the entire list. Vaughn agreed there were probably some projects the city could do in house.
Some of the Water Smart recommendations include:
The council has not yet decided which projects it will tackle first to use the $30,000 in the budget. Brooks said the council could look at those that would conserve water the most or the cheapest projects first or similar segments like landscaping or signage, “whatever you want to do.”
She added that each year the city would budget more towards these projects, “and we will chip away at it.”
Vigil said, “I think we should use the whole $30,000 now. I think we should get as much done as we can in that $30,000, as many projects as we can.”
Knocking the Zapata Park project off the list would only take a few hundred dollars, for example, he said. Broyles said it might make sense to knock off the smallest projects first.
Vigil said he especially wanted to see Alamosa’s entrances more appealing to visitors.
Mayor Coleman asked if any of these projects would qualify for grant funding and suggested the city should try to find some outside funding. Brooks said the city regularly applies for Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) mini grants, for example for $8,000, and the city could do that.
During the city’s next meeting the council is expected to discuss this more and perhaps vote on this year’s priorities for the $30,000 in the budget.