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South Ark Neighborhood Planning Continues With Public Event Series, March 27, 28 and 30

The City of Salida and consultants from StudioSeed, LLC will be hosting numerous activities and public engagement events related to the South Ark Neighborhood Master Plan process this coming week.

As previously reported by Ark Valley Voice, the neighborhood is the name applied to a development proposed for the roughly 100 acres of the Vandaveer Ranch property south of U.S. 50.

South Ark Neighborhood site map shows site boundaries in blue and anticipated open space in green. Image courtesy City of Salida

While the city-owned parcel (formerly known as Vandaveer Ranch) has seen minor development over the last decade, the portion south of U.S. 50 is now attracting keen attention from every group in town; from those seeking to address the city’s housing shortage, to hopes for maintaining open space, to costly dreams of much-expanded recreation facilities.

On March 6, a city council work session heard the (often divergent) results of a citizen survey, following on the heels of a packed town hall meeting in January. This week’s events continue to seek input from a diverse array of stakeholders — as time passes, early input becomes more impactful and less likely to be overturned.

The message: don’t wait; listen, learn, and make your voice heard.

Site Tours

Photos of the Vandaveer Ranch, a 100-acre parcel now called the South Ark Neighborhood. Photos provided by the City of Salida Jan. 18 community development slide deck.

The week kicks off with walking tours of the site at 12:00 noon and again at 3:00 p.m. on Monday, Mar. 27. The tour is also held at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Mar. 28. For many working people, taking a walk at lunchtime on Monday is both great exercise and time-efficient.

Tours are limited to 30 people each, will cover approximately 1.5 miles, and last approximately 1 hour. Pre-registration is required via this link online. Participants are encouraged to bring sturdy hiking shoes and to dress appropriately for the variable seasonal weather.

Participants are asked to meet at the CR 104 gate on the eastern side of the City-owned property, just a quarter- mile off Highway 50.

Design Charettes

On Tuesday, Mar. 28, there will be two community presentations and design workshops: the first will be held at the Salida SteamPlant from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  The second will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Salida High School Auditorium and Commons. There will be a short presentation at the beginning of each followed by an opportunity for the public to lend their creative energies towards the project.

According to the American Planning Association, in a formal Design Charette, “When the right people are engaged at the right time, with the right information and in the right place, charrettes can build trust and provide the space for people to work together to solve divisive issues and create successful projects. Charrettes have the power to ignite transformation in communities…”

Participants will be asked to help identify locations and amounts of potential uses such as: affordable housing, recreational fields and facilities, and educational facilities. These uses are in addition to, and must be balanced with, the minimum of approximately 50 acres already anticipated to be protected as natural open space. No registration is required for the presentations or design workshops.

Open House Set for March 30

The project consultants will take the input received from the workshops on Tuesday and incorporate that into professionally-produced preliminary design alternatives that will then be exhibited during an open house from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 30 at the Salida SteamPlant.

Light snacks and refreshments (including a cash bar) will provided. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend at any point during the event. Child supervision and activities (for children 1+ and walking) will be provided free of charge for this Thursday’s session only.

The City of Salida and StudioSeed invite residents, businesses and other stakeholders to be a part of the future of the South Ark Neighborhood. Whether you’re new in Salida or been here for generations, young, older or in between, you, your family, and your needs are valuable to making the project a success for all of Salida.

To stay informed and engaged in the process, follow along at: or click the link on the Community Development Department webpage.