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I felt it the first time I visited Salida in 1996.  Although because I’m not particularly spiritual, it took me a while to put my finger on it.  There was something special about this small, relatively unknown place in the shadow of the Sawatch Range, within earshot of the burbling of the Arkansas River.

Jane Templeton Councilwoman for Ward 1 in Salida. (Photo by Taylor Sumners)

At the suggestion of my traveling companion, I started thinking seriously about retiring here. With the purchase of a house two years before retirement, I began visiting Salida regularly from the Front Range, enjoying the chance to get away from the rat race and to start becoming part of the community.

What I found here astonished me—in addition to an incredibly vibrant arts and culture scene and multiple outdoor opportunities right outside my door, there were organizations for every conceivable human interest.  Whoever heard of a town this size with a luthier society and its own circus?

I regularly spent time at Amicas and the much-missed Bongo Billy’s, meeting locals and getting the lay of the land before moving here permanently in 2005.

I continued to feel it as I became a real resident.  There is energy amongst Salidans that I’ve not witnessed in many places, and I’ve lived in several small towns and large cities.  When friends and relatives visited me here, they mentioned that feeling too, reinforcing my conviction that I had chosen a special place to live.

As we move forward, we are going to have to call on that energy, that feeling of community, to help us recover from the loss of friends and family, as well as the massive hit to our economy.  We have already seen many outstanding local efforts by individual citizens, organizations, and governmental entities; we are going to need those efforts to continue and for new, inventive solutions to be discovered and adopted.  There will inevitably be some trial-and-error and some steps backward as well as forward, as we navigate recovery from this world-shattering pandemic.

I am, by nature, an optimist, believing that we humans can find a solution for any problem we set our minds to.  It may take some time, but given the Spirit of Salida, I have total faith that we as a community can and will recover and will come out the other side even better and more robust, but only if we do it together.

Sincerely,

Councilwoman Jane Templeton

Salida City Council