Print Friendly, PDF & Email

At the April 18 Salida City Council work session the search for suitable “Safe Outdoor Space” housing locations continued.  Council has been working with staff and members of the BETCH Salida group to identify and secure daytime/overnight vehicle camping spots that the BETCH Salida group would administer. The interim goal is to help reduce the shortage of housing for food and beverage and other service workers during the upcoming summer season.

Community Development Director Bill Almquist explained that the earlier proposed location behind the Touber Building (City Hall/Chaffee County offices) was not workable due to the high demand for employee and visitor parking spaces during weekdays.  He and Salida Parks and Recreation Director Diesel Post showed two new options; explaining the pros and cons of each.

Marvin Park “Boneyard”

Potential Safe outdoor Space summer housing site shown at Marvin Park between ballfields and the river. Photo courtesy City of Salida

The “Boneyard” is located above the riverfront trail, west of the outfield at the Marvin Park ball fields.  It might provide spaces for up to 15 vehicles.

Pros and Cons of potential Marvin Park “Boneyard” Safe Outdoor Space for summer housing. Image courtesy City of Salida










Centennial Park Dirt Parking Area

Potential site for Safe Outdoor Space summer housing, in Centennial Park near Holman Avenue. Photo courtesy City of Salida.

This area also might also accommodate 15 vehicles in two rows.  Located at the rear of the Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center, it sits between the site of the former recycling center, K Street and Holman Avenue.

Potential site of Safe Outdoor Space housing at Centennial Park. Photo at right faces east; Mt. Shavano Manor senior apartments are on the left, beyond the white fence. Photo courtesy City of Salida

Centennial Park Safe Outdoor Housing site, pros and cons. Image courtesy City of Salida

During Council discussion, it was evident there was no easy choice to be made.  Council Member Harald Kasper asked for input from Cory “Salty” Riggs, leader of the BETCH group.  She expressed a need for both sites (she originally hoped for 80 sites).  Riggs added that Marvin Park was better for camper’s privacy, closer to downtown and was quieter with great views.

Council Member  Mike Pollock asked about the possibility of a large, event-style tent to provide shade but Development Director Almquist said that the City preferred in-vehicle camping for safety and aesthetic reasons.

As Council Member Alisa Pappenfort viewed it, Centennial Park appears to be “safer, cleaner, and cooler”.  Parks and Recreation Director Post agreed, saying that they can provide better and later access to bathrooms at Centennial and also that not all workers needing a campsite actually work downtown.  She pointed out that Centennial Park has many more amenities already in place suited to campers which Marvin Park does not.

Because the topic was discussed in a work session, no official action could be taken. However, a non-binding straw poll of the council members taken at the council meeting the following evening did indicate a slight preference for the Centennial Park site. It is likely that the ball is now in the BETCH court to work out a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the City for BETCH (or another group) to provide third-party program administration.

Featured image: Members of BETCH Salida Housing group pictured at a fundraising event. Leader Cory “Salty” Riggs (front, center with Mayor Dan Shore at right). Courtesy photo.