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The first of five community gatherings focused on developing agenda items for the next Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails Master Plan took place at 6 p.m. Tuesday June 25 in the SteamPlant Event Center. The room was packed, indicating high interest in this topic.

Members of the Salida community packed the SteamPlant for an evening session to provide input to the development of a new Parks & Recreation Master Plan, the first since the 2008 plan. Photos by Taylor Sumners.

Mike “Diesel” Post, the new Director and Project Manager Jamie Sabbach presented the community with ideas for the Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails (PROST) Master plan. Sabbach invited the attendees to “start thinking about the community as a whole…representing the community in the best ways you can.”

Post addressed the community voices in attendance: “…I want you to consider our community at large throughout this process… You are the experts in the arena. I need to know what you want. I need to understand your perspective and your wants…so we can keep Salida, Salida.”

“I believe in the public process and I believe my visions are subservient to yours,” Post added. “We are at a new cross roads and this is why you’re all here today. To help us create a respectful, appropriate, and aggressive Salida vision of the future of our town.”

The event began with a recap of the 2008 PROST Master Plan and the successes from that plan; allocating 2.5 million dollars towards PROST improvements. This included the implementation of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, ADA connections to basketball courts in Alpine Park, new playground equipment for multiple parks and many more improvements.

“What you say and contribute now will affect our work in the future,” said Post. “Our 2008 Master Plan has been followed and mostly completed… we should be extremely proud of that, because not every community can say that.”

“We are an exemplar in making a plan and following through. We are an exemplar for having vision, doing what is right and having that lead to our successes,” said Post. “The simple fact of cleaning up the river corridor thirty years ago has led us to the place we are now.”

The final part of the evening was a community discussion,allowing citizens to contribute their thoughts to the five questions posted on collaboration boards throughout the event. The resulting thought boards were covered in sticky note suggestions related to these five topics, posed as questions:

  1. What are the most important issues of the day in Salida, CO?
  2. In what ways can Salida’s [PROST] have a positive impact on any or all the issues posed in question no.1?
  3. What would you do to improve Salida’s [PROST] so that they have the potential to benefit everyone in the community?
  4. What opportunities exist as they relate to Salida’s [PROST] that have not yet resulted in action?
  5. Additional thoughts to share at this time?

Post said the PROST team hopes that the proposed scope of work will be officially completed by the end of January 2020. He said his team encourages community voices to stay active and engaged in the processes moving forward. The next community input date is set for 4 p.m., July 11, and there will be another public meeting on the topic in late August.