By Ann Marie Swan
Salida enchants visitors who enjoy riding bikes past quaint Victorian houses en route to coffee shops. The Arkansas Valley’s natural wonders and easy charm woo these tourists who appreciate the river, nice restaurants, and the many hiking trails that wind away from the city. Salida is so dang cute, they often say.
But Salida proper and its outlying neighbors, heavily laden with historical baggage, weren’t always so popular, green and eco-conscious. Residents of Smeltertown, a mile northwest of Salida, fought an arduous battle for 16 years for their right to clean soil, air and water. Dave Kimmett and Ann Ewing lived through this saga of poisoning. It wasn’t all that long ago.