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The City of Salida announced during its council’s work session on Monday, Aug. 31, that it has received a grant of nearly $50,000 from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) through their Main Street funds, related to COVID-19. The grant will allow it to add improvements to the downtown F Street area that has been blocked off this summer to support local businesses and maintain COVID-19 social distancing standards.

The grant will cover four pergolas, 12 Adirondack-style chairs, solar-powered lighting for the pergolas, as many as 50 steel barricades, and 16 “bear-saver” trash cans which will be deployed not just on F Street, but in other parts of Salida. The City hopes to roll out these improvements within the next two weeks.

During the work session, the council discussed what the end of the summer season means for the temporary F Street pedestrian-only blocks and discuss how the grant the city received can improve the walking and dining areas. Council members approached these agenda items by discussing when to reopen F Street to vehicle traffic.

The city says it hopes to keep the street accessible to pedestrians for as long as the weather will allow, but the council agrees it will most likely be reopened sometime during the first couple of weeks of October. This discussion is ongoing. City staff and Council members are reaching out to downtown retailers, the Salida Business Alliance, and the Chamber of Commerce for input. No final decisions have been made.

Chairs currently set up on F Street for public use. Picture By Brooke Gilmore

The chairs and shade coverings in use right now will be repurposed next year throughout the city, or again on F Street if the City decides to continue making downtown blocks accessible to pedestrians only. City Council members say they hope to continue to make improvements like these next year, assuming similar community interest.

Finally, the City of Salida is awaiting approval from CDOT for additional funds covering anti-graffiti coating for the pergolas and chairs, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) wheelchair-accessible mid-block ramps, and lattice tops and sides to provide more shade.