Recent arguments related to the proposed affordable housing units located at Crestone and 3rd Streets have motivated me to share my perspective. Salidans have loudly voiced concerns about the need for housing for our teachers, medical support staff, firemen, cooks, waitresses, and [fill in the blank].
The financial gulf between the rich and poor has widened, leaving many who now serve us on a daily basis with but one choice — to live miles from Salida where they are employed.
Salidans, we must not lose our blend of citizens — living next door to one another. This highly respected virtue is one of the most attractive traditions that Salida has cherished for generations.
If we want to continue to enjoy the community spirit that makes Salida so attractive, we must share the space that is available with those who need it the most. All of us, citizens and tourists alike, demand services that require low wage employees who, unfortunately, cannot afford to live in “their” town.
When studying the city map, I smile at the peculiar design that has resulted from our forefathers’ decisions. There are numbered and lettered streets going east, west and north, and south. Then there are assorted named streets that create abrupt angles, abutting the original ones. These intersections create interesting street junctures. Traversing the maze when multiple cars appear is challenging.
For safety reasons, City Council and the Departments of Public Works and Police have redesigned a few of those triangle intersections. (Examples: along Teller at 5th, Park & 6th. C-Dodge). More “triangles” exist across our city, creating unnecessary traffic as well as snow plowing problems. I consider these triangular footprints wasted use of space and encourage City Council to consider using more of the “triangles” for small affordable housing projects.
When I first heard of the possibility of redesigning the Crestone-3rd Street intersection, I was delighted. There is very little space left within Salida’s perimeter for housing development. This particular location is near downtown providing potential owners the opportunity to walk and/or bike to and from work so they don’t need duplicate vehicles.
Some citizens complain that the “city” has done little to meet our housing crisis. Now that the city is considering assisting Chaffee Housing Trust with this project, citizens complain that the cost is coming out of their pockets. I must remind all of you that NO Salida citizen pays property taxes to support the Salida city government.
Sales tax is the only portion that goes directly to running Salida. That means that every person who spends money in Salida — Chaffee County citizens AND tourists — pay the exact same portion that Salida citizens pay to pave and plow our streets, maintain our parks and sidewalks, etc. How privileged Salidans are to have all those folks contributing to the support of our city.
Older generations sometimes have a preoccupation with property rights at the expense of human rights. We will be remembered by how we treat one another while we are on this planet, not by what we accumulate, nor the view from the property we own.