Salida Town Council continues its search for safe housing for outdoor spaces – by Ark Valley Voice staff
During the April 18 Salida City Council working session, the search for suitable housing for a “safe outdoor space” continued. The Board works with staff and members of the BETCH Salida group to identify and secure day/night vehicle campsites that the BETCH Salida group would administer. The interim aim is to help ease the housing shortage for food and beverage and other service workers in the upcoming summer season.
Community Development Manager Bill Almquist explained that the previously proposed location behind the Touber building (City Hall/Chaffee County offices) was not feasible due to high demand for parking spaces for employees and visitors during weekdays. He and Salida’s director of parks and recreation, Diesel Post, showed two new options; explaining the pros and cons of each.
Marvin “Boneyard” Park
The “Boneyard” is located above the waterfront path, west of the outfield of the Marvin Park ball diamonds. It could provide spaces for up to 15 vehicles.
Centennial Park dirt parking lot
This area could also accommodate 15 vehicles in two rows. Located at the back of the Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center, it sits between the site of the old recycling center, K Street and Holman Avenue.
During the Council’s discussions, it was evident that there was no easy choice to be made. Council Member Harald Kasper sought advice from Cory “Salty” Riggs, head of the BETCH group. She expressed a need for both sites (she initially hoped for 80 sites). Riggs added that Marvin Park was better for camper privacy, closer to downtown, and quieter with great views.
Council member Mike Pollock asked about the possibility of a large event-style tent to provide shade, but development manager Almquist said the city preferred camping in a vehicle for safety reasons. and aesthetics.
According to board member Alisa Pappenfort, Centennial Park appears to be “safer, cleaner and cooler.” Parks and Recreation Director Post agrees, saying they can provide better and later access to bathrooms at Centennial and not all workers who need a campsite actually work at the center. -city. She pointed out that Centennial Park already has many other camper-friendly amenities in place, unlike Marvin Park.
As the subject was discussed during a working session, no official action could be taken. However, a non-binding poll of council members taken at the council meeting the next evening indicated a slight preference for the Centennial Park site. It is likely that the ball is now in BETCH’s court to develop a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the City for BETCH (or another group) to provide third party administration of the program.
Featured Image: Members of the BETCH Salida Housing group pictured at a fundraising event. Chief Cory “Salty” Riggs (front, center with Mayor Dan Shore at right). Courtesy picture.