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Community members attend the Future 50 open house at Soulcraft Brewing Co. Friday night and provide feedback on ideas for future Highway 50 development. The ideas were presented as design sketches and focused on the section of highway between 14th and H streets (photo by Joe Stone).

The Future 50 team wrapped up its three-day design workshop with an open house that presented ideas for future development along Salida’s U.S. Highway 50 corridor Friday night at Soulcraft Brewing Co.

The ideas were presented through design sketches and developed by consultants with expertise in urban planning and transportation and based on feedback from community members, especially business owners, property owners and residents along Highway 50.

Salida Mayor P.T. Wood emphasized the importance of engaging Highway 50 business owners in the process. “We want to help them generate more sales tax for the city. Supporting them is in the city’s best interest.”

Chuck Deveney, right, expresses his opinions about proposals that would affect his business, Roxy’s Bottle Shop at Highway 50 and F Street, as Bud Tymczyszyn assures Deveney that the Future 50 project will make every effort to accommodate business owners’ concerns (photo by Joe Stone).

Given the volume of traffic on Highway 50, Wood recognizes the potential for the city. “A lot of businesses are doing great now, but what can we do to improve that business climate?”

Maps, overlays and posters presented initial ideas for Highway 50. Given the impracticality of working with the entire 2-mile stretch of Highway 50 in Salida, the experts recommended an incremental approach.

Based on community feedback, existing businesses and connectivity to downtown, the design workshops focused on the section of Highway 50 from 14th Street to H Street as a starting point and potential “Uptown Salida” commercial center.

“If done right,” said Wood, “this helps solve the downtown parking problem” by drawing people into “Uptown Salida” with shuttle service to downtown Salida.

Community Builders representatives Bud Tymczyszyn and Alison Bourquin presented various alternatives developed during the workshop sessions, including design sketches, descriptions and “pros and cons.” Attendees were encouraged to respond and comment.

Tymczyszyn said previous efforts to engage the community had mostly involved talking and that, through the design workshop, “we’ve been able to draw up various ideas to visualize and take the conversation to the next level.”

He said the design workshops and open house events have provided more detail and allowed people to find more common ground about development ideas, “but there’s still lots more work to do.”

The next step, Tymczyszyn said, is to visit every business owner in the focus area between 14th and H streets and draw up ideas with them. “We don’t want this to hurt businesses.”

“From here,” said Mayor Wood, “we’ll digest all of this information. … After the first of the year we’ll reach out to the community to develop a good plan and start talking about implementation.”