To: Santa Fe County Board of County Commissioners
Commissioner Rudy N. Garcia – District 3
Commissioner Ed Moreno – District 5
Commissioner Henry Roybal – District 1 Chair
Commissioner Anna Hansen – District 2 Vice-Chair
Commissioner Anna T. Hamilton – District 4
The San Marcos Association (SMA) (https://thesanmarcosassociation.org/) is a Registered Organization under Chapter 2 of the Sustainable Land Development Code that advocates for the residents and communities in a substantial portion of Santa Fe County. Importantly, our advocacy area includes Mt. Chalchihuitl and surrounding areas. On June 9, 2020, the Mt. Chalchihuitl project was presented to the BCC in a budget discussion with, potentially, NO funds allocated towards it for 2021. We understand that Santa Fe County funding for preservation of this world class archaeological site may be discussed, and potentially acted upon, at the June 23 Capital Planning & Budget Study Session under Item 2(c). SMA urges you to prioritize the Mt. Chalchihuitl project as one deserving of both County funding and of focused attention by the BCC in order to move it forward. Adding this site to the existing Cerrillos Hills State Park, and mitigating the adverse effects of nearby mining contaminants should be high priorities. Revisiting the Mt. Chalchihuitl project, establishing its scope and budget, and committing BCC attention to it will enable this project to progress.
Commissioner Garcia, as you know, Mt. Chalchihuitl is in District 3 and many of your constituents feel strongly that this site should be protected. Commissioner Moreno, District 5 includes the northern portion of the SMA advocacy area, and the San Marcos Association Board wishes to emphasize that preserving and protecting Mt. Chalchihuitl is important to many of us. Notwithstanding these specific District considerations, the existence of a significant educational and well-preserved world-class archaeological site like Mt. Chalchihuitl would enrich the entire county, as people from all over the county would benefit, as would out-of-county visitors.
With the attention and leadership of the Board of Commissioners, past struggles with Mt. Chalchihuitl, and the inability to make progress on that project, can be overcome in order to protect this unique site. These past difficulties must not be allowed to stop Santa Fe County from following through with its commitment, dating back to at least 2001, to acquire and protect the largest prehistoric Native American turquoise mine in North America. Further, mitigation of the effects of mining contaminants southeast of Mt. Chalchihuitl is of substantial concern to community members both from the standpoint of protecting Mt. Chalchihuitl and ensuring the safety of their properties. The BCC can and should provide leadership in these areas.
The San Marcos Association feels preserving and protecting the Mt. Chalchihuitl site is integral to maintaining the rural, residential and historical character of this area; and many residents agree. Additionally, protecting the area from toxic chemicals in an area where we live and where many visitors recreate, is of high importance. We reiterate our desire for you, and for the other Commissioners, to prioritize these projects, to fund them, and not to eliminate them from County consideration.
Dennis Kurtz, President Janet McVickar, Vice-President
Gail Buono, Treasurer Karen Keeney, Secretary
Jill Cliburn Laird Graeser
Gail Karr Elizabeth West
The San Marcos Association Board of Directors