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◀︎return to newslistIncreasing housing supply crucial for city

February 22, 2022 – 

My perspective regarding the importance of approving the proposed project by Homewise to build 161 houses and an active park on South Meadows Road is informed by my unique position as an educator in our community, a parent of young children and as a proud, multigenerational New Mexican.

A few years ago, when my young family and I were looking to move home to Santa Fe, it was nearly impossible to find housing that two educators’ salaries could afford. Luckily, we became residents of the south side and were able to fill two of the now 273 vacancies advertised by our local public schools.

My husband and I both worked additional jobs after school to pay our mortgage, daycare and other costs of living. Unfortunately, we eventually had to make the difficult decision to find roles outside of our public schools to afford a more balanced life and financial situation. The idea that few can afford to work in one of the most impactful professions in our country based on the price of housing is unacceptable. I see a clear connection between a shortage of teachers and other essential workers to the high cost of living.

With homes at the South Meadows development starting at $128,500, the 161-unit neighborhood would make a huge impact on Santa Fe.

 

Homewise is proposing a 6-acre active park that, based on community input, could include play structures, basketball courts, a ball field, walking paths, picnic areas, a community garden and more. As it stands, only 16 percent of residents in the south side live within a 10-minute walk to this type of opportunity, compared to the citywide average of 50 percent of residents. This lack of access has a major impact on the quality of life for our local children and young adults.

Having to either drive across town to access active parks or pay for recreation should not be dependent on ZIP code. Now more than ever, we need safe and free options for children to learn to share space and enjoy their community. For me, visiting active parks means watching children feel empowered by practicing problem-solving, risk-taking and communicating respectfully with others. It means thinking less about the potential spread of a virus, practicing interacting with others and taking a break from screens.

Expanding this opportunity for more residents ultimately benefits our entire community beyond measure. In response to some residents’ characterization of this land as the “Central Park of the south side,” I would recommend exploration of the nearby El Camino Real Interpretive Trail and River Trailhead. They are gorgeous!

Finally, to me, living in Santa Fe means being connected to a place where at least five generations of my family have lived, worked and raised children. It means coming together across differences to consider the greater good of our community. When it comes to contemplating increasing access to affordable housing and safe, free recreation, I would like to push any skeptical residents to consider the needs of our local children, young adults and essential workers in honor of our entire community.

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