Sanctuary plans


I was pleased to see Gustavo Arellano’s article about the plans of the Catholic Church to build a “multimillion-dollar retreat center” next to the Santuario de Chimayó in the community of El Potrero (“Whose Santuario?HCN, 5/13/19). However, the article fails to mention the process that led to the church putting its plans on hold. From March 2012 to April 2014, Chimayó Citizens for Community Planning conducted a series of 29 meetings led by Santa Fe County planners, each attended by 20 to 50 community members (including representatives from the church). A comprehensive plan was then developed that covered a wide variety of issues important to the community. This included the impacts a retreat center would have on El Potrero, including the infrastructure demands from an influx of visitors: increased traffic on narrow roads, increased water usage, sewerage, etc. It became clear through this planning process that many real obstacles to the plans existed. The article gives a simplistic view of conflict between the church and one community planner. In reality, hundreds of people were involved. The final draft plan may be read on the Santa Fe County website.

William Wroth 
Santa Fe, New Mexico

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