"The Secret Garden," Alan Prendergast, November 21
I grew up in the San Luis Valley, and it's sad that this story doesn't surprise me at all. The Valley is an amazing place, but the fact of the matter is that it is about twenty years behind the times. The "Valley Bubble" that natives who've left so often joke about is very real, and this is a perfect example of it. There's a good reason why many SLV natives leave, myself included, and it's because of the backwards, antiquated thinking that plagues the region.
Sad to see that a fantastic idea of a healthy living space was scraped for a paved, black-tar resort for Texans.
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Again and again, fascinating articles by Alan Prendergast. This one was compelling, because it clearly described both sides of this complicated issue. I went back and forth between thinking the local food concept was great to thinking the board made the right decision selling to a businessman.
A local garden with land this valuable: a concept that may never work and that will probably never make money. I look at the community gardens in Denver and Englewood and see the obvious inefficiency and absurdity. If this model could work, farmers would be tearing down houses and local farmers would be rich. Alas, the cost of these gardens is never logical or productive. Even with free land, they barely produce enough to pay for the water used in the production of the ten mini-crops that feed just a few, for just a few weeks. If this were productive, everyone would have a producing garden in their yard. Only government subsidies give this a chance to work, and then the business model is one that is not revenue-producing for the local government.
And then to see the board sell this land for such a low price, with the topsoil alone worth the purchase price, is quite disturbing. What a deal that guy got. Wow. All of this based on one appraisal, and the deal 1 percent down on a commercial loan! That is a heck of a lender, but also a strong sign that the property was undervalued — and the bank loaning the money knows it.
In the end, it takes a businessman to take a property like this and turn it into something of value. Governments cannot do it. A local garden, even thirty acres, would not help Alamosa. The tax revenue from the new business will.
"Fifteen Things That Hipsters Have Ruined," Patricia Calhoun, November 14
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Editor's note: For more hipster restaurant news, see Cafe Society at westword.com.