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The Salida Business Alliance (SBA) held their monthly meeting Thursday, May 5 at the Community Center.  The  first portion of the meeting was given over to updates from the City of Salida.  Kathryn Dunleavy from the Community Development and Planning Department, together with Sara Law, Deputy City Clerk led off with information for downtown business owners. The two answered questions and updated the audience on the process for obtaining permits to occupy street space in the 2022 summertime F Street Pedestrian zone.

City Administrator Drew Nelson shared that the city had concluded a lengthy eminent domain process with a court-approved financial settlement. The city will be acquiring the 1002 D Street apartments and adjoining building at 233 East First Street which were deemed uninhabitable in May 2017.  Bids are being solicited to demolish both structures (hopefully by summer’s end) to make way for affordable workforce housing.

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Next up were FIBArk organizers Lindsay Sutton-Stephens and Annie Ruiter who provided updates on logistics and event planning for the 74th FIBArk Whitewater Festival to be held June 16-19.  Sutton-Stephens said that they are working for the whole community and that organizers are eager to partner with businesses and community members for mutual benefit.

She cited the challenges of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, reduced space to work with plus the closure of F Street to vehicles. She covered a unique concept for the traditional FIBArk parade but said they are doing their best and trying to please as many people as they can.  “It’s one big community and we want to celebrate that.”

As Ruiter explained, details and logistics are evolving daily and SBA President Angel Rowell encouraged organizers to come to the next meeting and keep everyone in the loop.

Featured speakers for the meeting were a trio from Colorado Farm to Table, founded by Tony Madone in 1996 as a nonprofit provider of free produce to those in need.  Farm Manager and Director T.J. McDaniel offered a slide show explaining the history and mission of Colorado Farm to Table and how they farm ten acres of land off Highway 291 just past the hospital, donated by the Richard Shine family.  Their 2022 goal is to harvest 135,00 pounds of fresh produce, picked daily to feed those in need.

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Working with more than 100 volunteers, fresh vegetables are planted, tended, harvested and made ready for distribution to a half-dozen Chaffee-area food banks. With a perishable crop that must be picked and shipped the same day, they also redistribute throughout much of Colorado partnering with large groups like Food Bank of The Rockies and Care and Share Food Bank from Colorado Springs.

New for 2022, are Farm to Table educational programs with the local nonprofit elevateHER and an ongoing presence at the Salida Farmers Markets. Co-presenters were Director Allison Groom and Farmer and Program Coordinator Sarah Kurmin.

To conclude the meeting, Director of the Salida Chamber of Commerce Lori Roberts provided highlights of upcoming Chamber events with a special mention of the 2022 Ride the Rockies bicycling event.  More than 1,000 riders will once again arrive at Salida’s Riverside Park on the afternoon of June 14.

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As in past years, the riders will camp overnight at Marvin Park after some time spent dining and shopping in downtown.  Roberts suggested that businesses request a free booth of their own in the park and also promote special shipping services to encourage people to make a purchase before leaving.

The next scheduled meeting of the SBA is 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Thursday, meeting at 305 F Street in Salida.  Minutes of meetings are posted on the SBA website and are available here.  All meetings are open to the public.  For questions or to be added to the mailing list, email to SBASalida@gmail.com.

The Salida Business Alliance is a thriving, networking group which provides opportunities to meet other professionals from Salida, Colorado and surrounding communities. Its collaborative goal is to see the City of Salida, County and Regional government work together to keep the area’s business community vibrant.