By Richard Barish
The City's plans for the Bosque got off to a rocky start four years ago. The City shipped the plans off to an architectural consultant before it even asked City residents what they wanted done in their Bosque. When it consulted with the public, it was only a very narrow segment of the public.
City residents are understandably very attached to their Bosque. When they learned what the City had in mind for the Bosque, they came out in great numbers to express their opinions, and they didn't like what they learned about the plans for the Bosque.
The City, to its credit, appeared to listen. It slowed the process down. It put on a series of terrific bosque forums last year to educate Albuquerque residents about the issues facing the Bosque. It did a great job of soliciting public input on its environmental monitoring plan and on plans for the Bosque between Central and the I-40 bridge. The City had gone a long way toward repairing the trust it had lost by its early handling of the Bosque plans.
Consultation with the public about the Bosque plans appeared to bear fruit. The Bosque plan's fiercest critics and the Open Space Division were close to complete agreement on a consensus plan for the Central to I-40 stretch.
Then, with no announcement or warning to the public, the City plowed a trail through the Bosque on Tuesday. The trail will reportedly be a six foot wide, manicured trail surfaced with crusher fines. The consensus plan also would have included a wider, multiuse trail that would have been great for bicycles and horses, only the trail would had a less developed and more natural design that was more in keeping with the natural character of the Bosque.
The City's new, widened trail hugs the bank of the river for a portion of its length in the location of what was previously a narrower trail. The river bank is the most environmentally sensitive portion of the Bosque and is an area where the City should seek to reduce, not increase, impacts.
The City never solicited or took public comment on the trail design it is building. The City's plans were never disclosed before the City started construction on Tuesday. The City had previously committed to a procedure whereby it would devise options for the trail, hold public meetings, and give the public the opportunity to have input into the City's decision. The City reneged on its promise to disclose its plans to the public and to listen to the public's views before it selected a plan for the Bosque. The City could not have been more secretive if it had begun construction in the dead of night.
The City has now shattered the trust of the public that its good employees worked so hard to painstakingly build over the past year. The only possible conclusion is that the decision-makers do not care what the public wants done in the Bosque.
We strongly encourage you to take action against this unwarranted bulldozing of the Bosque, and our trust.