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The City of Salida is hosting a community meeting, billed as an Open House, at the SteamPlant Event Center, 220 W. Sackett Ave. Planned for 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 31. The gathering kicks off the master planning process for what is being called “The South Ark Neighborhood” – a 100-acre parcel of the former Vandaveer Ranch on the south side of Highway 50 near its junction with State Highway 291.

The city of Salida estimates that 50 to 60 acres of the roughly 100-acre South Ark parcel can be developed, due to existing wetlands, springs, and drainages. Image courtesy of the City of Salida

In a press release dated January 13, the city stated that “the process intends to identify the best uses for the site to serve the Salida community for generations to come—uses that could include recreational fields and facilities, housing (including affordable housing), natural open space, and educational facilities, among other possibilities…[which] will culminate with an actionable master plan for the site.”

The press release goes on to note that the meeting will be facilitated by a consulting group called Studio Seed, whose specialty, according to their website, is in “the design of public space.”

The City of Salida originally purchased the Vandaveer Ranch in 2004 for its water rights, and the issue of how – or whether – the property should be developed has been a vexing question ever since. The South Ark Neighborhood Plan developed by the City and Studio Seed includes a timeline of the process so far, as well as including ideas for multi-use development. (A longer history of the property purchase can be found in a January 20 article by Ark Valley Voice.)

The Open House will be providing light snacks, a cash bar, and childcare, and the public is encouraged to come and give feedback on the master plan.