Voices and ideas needed in the realm of community sports and recreation

Local athletes, outdoor enthusiasts and recreation buffs should speak up, demand quality sports facilities, play spaces, infrastructure

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Recently, a community meeting was held and some pretty important topics came up with regards to the direction or path our lovely town should take when it comes to economic development, sustained growth and the overall “health” of Taos.

In fact, the event was a kickoff to what is fittingly known as “Strong At Heart – Building a thriving downtown for everyone,” which could be billed as double entendre for what is on the table for the future of our central Taos community regarding sports and recreation. Though the title suggests there is a desire to make changes to just the middle of town or the Plaza, Taos at large stands to benefit from discussions about the fitness needs of Taoseños – and the incentives to get fit – included in those discussions.

Held at the Sagebrush Inn June 12, more than 200 people attended and gave their input. Lacking at the kickoff event were the voices of young people and adults who should be at the table during these discussions to interject their thoughts on the current state of recreational opportunities in the Taos area. Granted, the intended community discussions targeted the downtown area and how to best utilize the “heart” of Taos, so it might not have seemed like the time or the place to voice an athlete’s concern. In fact, this whole project could be misconstrued as just another vision for some unknown leadership body or some outside consultant telling the residents of Taos what they should do with their Plaza. On the contrary, this may very well be the vehicle of change that many people in the health sphere have been waiting decades for. There are facilities (both indoor and outdoor) in our community in dire need of repair or replacement, projects that need to be completed, sports leagues that need funding and more opportunities for families to engage in physical fitness.

A citizens advisory committee (CAC) has been created to gather input on the specific wants and needs of Taoseños. This committee is made up of a few dozen community members who have been tasked with reaching out to a large swath of people to gather data and present it to local decision-makers in an effective manner. What is needed in this process are voices and ideas. Longtime Taos residents, newcomers, baby boomers, Gen Xers, millennials, outdoor enthusiasts, little leaguers, senior leaguers, pickleballers, hoopsters, grapplers, cowboys, cowgirls, swimmers and mud boggers. The CAC needs a wide array of the public to help chart a course for the future.

Here in Taos, there are several participants and passionate leaders who have boosted their respective sports in the form of leagues and/or events – often doing the best they can with what they have. Comparatively, other municipalities of similar size have far better sports facilities and many more of them to cover different parts of town. The age of limits for practice and games should become a thing of the past as we march forward and become included in one-year, five-year, 10-year and 20-year plans. For local adult athletes – hardworking men and women who chose to live here – sports leagues provide a physical release, and there should be many more of them. For young athletes, an invitation to participate is also extended to you and your perspective is greatly needed.

If there are obstacles, then discussions to circumvent those barriers should be had.

One key subject that was mentioned at the kickoff event was the need for better communication among the various “groups” here in Taos. Perhaps this project will inspire just that. Hopefully the town of Taos, Taos County, Taos Pueblo, Taos Municipal Schools, the villages of Questa and Peñasco, the greater business community and the many local nonprofit organizations can come together and work to help make our hearts strong – literally.

Chances are, economic development opportunities will thrive, sustained growth will occur at a meaningful pace and the overall “health” of Taos will improve.

Just what the heart doctor ordered.

“Sports Talk” is a periodic commentary from Arcenio J. Trujillo, The Taos News sports editor. If you have an idea or topic for coverage on “Sports Talk,” contact Trujillo at sports@taosnews.com and include your name, contact information and your sports news idea.

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