Salida has a plan for you

Brief by Central Staff

Salida politics – June 1996 – Colorado Central Magazine

Did you know there was an interstate highway running through Salida?

We didn’t, either, until we perused the “Comprehensive Plan and Implementing Strategy” prepared for the Salida City Council by the Leland Consulting Group of Denver.

The consultants, who apparently have trouble reading a simple road map, refer to U.S. 50 as “I-50” throughout the plan. But they’re from out of town, so doubtless they know more than we do.

For instance, Salida voters decided against an 18-hole golf course last fall. Yet the consultants propose adding nine holes with the same dogged persistence that our school administrators exhibit when they keep pushing a middle school — even though voters turn it down every chance they get.

The plan offers three “futures” for Salida: Open-space rural community, residential community, and service center. No mention anywhere that Salida was founded as a hub of heavy industry — we must have outgrown the need for steady jobs that pay decent wages.

Some other curiosities in the plan:

The city is currently suffering from a shortage of water-treatment capacity. One vision calls for developments on two-acre lots — big lawns are the perfect way to save water, right?

They interviewed schoolchildren, who mentioned the need for places to skateboard and travel on in-line skates. Naturally, all the trails in the plan only mention foot, bicycle, and equestrian trails.

In some places, they talk about subsidies to attract desired development, and in others, Salida is supposed to “require new development to `pay its way.'” Which is it supposed to be?

The city is supposed to “Create regulations to manage the impacts of home occupation.” What’s that mean?

Upon closer reading, that section was aimed at home-based businesses, and “Limitations could include the following subject areas: kighting, parking…” Did they mean “lighting,” or is the city going to regulate the small-business vice of “check kighting”?

Salida is supposed to “reduce the amount of sub-standard housing through the elimination of blight-causing influences.”

What’s a “blight-causing influence?” Property isn’t an influence, so they must be talking about people who should be eliminated.

But they didn’t provide any mechanism for elimination. Will “blight-causing influences” be rounded up and deported? Shot while resisting arrest? Taxed, fined, and otherwise harassed so that they’ll move on, thereby making Salida more attractive to upscale amenity-seekers?

The more we read the plan, the more it sounds like an opening salvo in another round of class warfare. Although Salida’s present population has a median household income of $22,896, the taxes required to implement some of this plan’s suggestions would be beyond Aspenites.

Well, it’s been 150 years since the United States got hold of this territory in the Mexican War, so you have to figure that it’s about time Mainstream Americans finished the job of conquering what was once a rather pleasant, laid-back place.