I’ve lived on the south side for the past 20 years. I love my home, and pretty much everything I do is on the south side: shopping, restaurants, we have it all. I have started to hear a lot of talk lately about the “open space” on South Meadows. I was a bit curious and somewhat confused. I take South Meadows Road and Rufina Street on my way to and from work every day. Surely, that big lot of cactus and shrubs could not be what they were making such a fuss over.
I love hiking. I often hike Winsor Trail in the spring and summer. I enjoy a day out at Tent Rocks about once a season as well. We are fortunate to have so much beauty surrounding us here in Santa Fe. A simple 20-plus-minute drive gets us somewhere out in the open. True open space — not surrounded by buildings or homes.
I’m thinking opponents of the housing development on South Meadows have open space mixed up with parks? I love parks, and we have some nice parks as well. I am fond of SWAN Park and miss the concert series from a few years back. Parks are what we could use more of in our neighborhoods. A park has grass, trees and tables where you can sit and enjoy a picnic. Ideally, there are some sports elements as well: basketball, baseball, or swings and slides for the kids to play on. A park offers something for everyone to enjoy.
The patch of dirt on South Meadows doesn’t really fit either definition. If it’s supposed to be some open area for the community to enjoy (and protect), then why is it all fenced off? There is a chain-link fence along the entire side of South Meadows keeping people out. Bordering the other three sides are houses and an abandoned business. So, I would not classify this area as something special. It’s a dirt field. And here on the south side, we have a plethora of dirt fields.
We had a dirt field at the end of Paseo del Sol — now it has an Auto Zone, McDonald’s, Mexican restaurant and a Pizza 9. It offers businesses that supply jobs and a place to stop by on the way home to get a new windshield wiper (just did that the other day). We had a dirt field down the way on Airport Road; soon we’ll have an awesome new El Paisano Supermarket. Looking forward to shopping there as well.
If you ask me, the one thing we have plenty of on the south side are empty dirt lots to explore. Can Airport Road support a lot of new businesses and all the traffic they may bring? Perhaps not. However, I would counter, the folks going to these businesses are all on the south side already, stopping at them on the way home. So not more traffic, just more choice — on the south side.
Something else is in the news these days — homes. Where are the affordable homes? Heck, where are there homes for someone to buy? Moreover, the south side is where we need them most. We have more kids and families on the south side and many schools. Too many apartments and not enough affordable homes for folks to buy. Are the opponents against affordable housing?
So, if someone is proposing turning a dirt field that is currently fenced off into a park with access to all, count me in. If they also are going to build some more affordable homes on top of that? I’m all for it.