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

Summer housing site Potential for safe outdoor space illustrated at Marvin Park between the ball diamonds and the river. Photo courtesy of City of Salida

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.

Pros and Cons of Potential Marvin Park “Boneyard” Safe outdoor space for summer housing. Image courtesy of City of Salida

Centennial Park dirt parking lot

Potential site for Safe Outdoor Space summer housing, in Centennial Park near Holman Avenue. Photo courtesy of City of Salida.

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.

Potential Safe Outdoor Space housing site at Centennial Park. The photo on the right faces east; The Mt. Shavano Manor Senior Apartments are on the left, beyond the white picket fence. Photo courtesy of City of Salida

Centennial Park Safe Outdoor Housing site, pros and cons. Image courtesy of City of Salida

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.