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Salida Community Development team seeks input by April 16 for South Ark Neighborhood

Those who’ve followed Ark Valley Voice’s coverage last week on the South Ark Neighborhood planning process now have an opportunity to examine the resulting three preliminary concepts in detail, without the distractions of a crowded meeting hall or any perceived pressure of people looking over your shoulder.

The Salida Community Development department has posted a request for public input and detailed comments by April 16

What’s your vision?

“…The vision thing,’ a clarity of ideas and principles that could shape public opinion and influence Congress.” This quote (fairly or unfairly) is contained in the biography posted on the official U.S. Senate website of a former U.S. President. It speaks to the importance of looking at the big picture AND being able to present your views timely and effectively to those who are in a position to make it happen.

Professional designers, architects and urban planners have spent countless hours, walking the South Ark Neighborhood site, meeting with city staff  and local stakeholders — then translating to paper what they heard, saw and absorbed from the “vibe” at last week’s events. The result is three concept plans to dive further into the needs and wants of the community.

Principal and Founder of Studio Seed, Cheney Bostic told Ark Valley Voice she hoped for several hundred (even 400) survey responses from this round. It should be noted that none of what’s come to light so far is a forgone conclusion at this point, “nor is it a matter of tossing together individual pieces of a all has to work together” added Bostic. She described it as a matter of “blending” the elements that stand out the best – “what are the trends in these housing layout designs and recreation responses that keep coming back.”

It’s your turn now, as the locals who will live, visit and recreate in the South Ark Neighborhood.

Your opinions will shape the next round, narrowing the process to two new concept boards to be presented later this Spring. Underscoring the word ‘new’, the next round, while informed by what came before “might be a hybrid or even something new and even better” said Salida Development Director Bill Almquist. He cautioned: “it’s early in the process; we’re focused on site layout and circulation (people, traffic) first. We’re not ‘picking out the curtains’ just yet.”

Planning staff and the Salida City Council will then need to do financial and design analyses. These steps will lead to project infrastructure costing and price points, determining affordability of the housing units and recreational amenities. As the design process evolves “concepts have to be tested and proven for feasibility…there are economic factors and things could change”, said Bostic, adding a touch of reality.

South Ark Neighborhood Alternative 1. Image courtesy Studio Seed and City of Salida

South Ark Neighborhood Alternative 3. Image courtesy Studio Seed and City of Salida


Almquist notes that all three of the current options dedicate about the same amount of acreage and possibilities for recreation and all focus the development in the southwest corner of the site. “Council has me it clear – doing ‘nothing’ (leaving all as the rough space it is now) is not an option.” While there is no perfect or simple solution, having thoughtful input from as many people as possible will help city officials arrive at the best fit for the most people.

Take the 15-question survey

The survey link is here. You can enter your responses only once and all input is due by April 16. Readers are encouraged to carefully view the embedded graphic renderings with each set of questions before making their choices. It’s possible to go back and review or redo an answer if you learn something  new further on. There are also other images in the survey that detail circulation patterns for walking, biking, and traffic/access.

Most of all, the optional questions are even more significant to the planners than simply choosing “Door #1, Door #2 or Door #3”.  Filling in these “free form” blanks with your own ideas clarifies the box that was checked and adds other possibilities to the evolving solution. “Knowing why you like something communicates even more for us to work with”, said Almquist.

For more information

Readers may view the city’s latest South Ark Neighborhood posting here and follow the entire process via the official web site for the South Ark Neighborhood Plan.

Editor note: The survey may involve a little more time than you might first think but after taking it, appears to be well-designed, with plenty of colorful visuals to help provide inspiration — surveys are not an easy thing to design well.

Featured image: South Ark Neighborhood Alternative 2. Image courtesy Studio Seed and City of Salida (Alternatives 1 and 3 are pictured in the story, above)