On February 18, the Salida Business Alliance discussed ideas on how certain blocks of F Street could be opened to pedestrians and local restaurants and other businesses could use the extra space. Last summer, an area from F St. from First to Second St. and from North F to First Street was closed to allow occupancy during COVID-19.
All entrepreneurs who attended the meeting supported the routing of traffic in the region and made it pedestrian, pet and family friendly. They also hope to potentially expand it south from Second to Third Streets. This could potentially create casual dining areas or even play live music during the day, adding to the mix.
As previously reported by Ark Valley Voice, the City of Salida has received a Revitalizing Main Street Grant of $ 50,000 from CDOT. The grant was used to buy trash cans, wastebasket, and pergolas for F Street to provide shelter and keep downtown clean. The new bins are animal-safe and will be wrapped in historical pictures of Salida, then placed on F Street and Riverside Park.
Some business owners expressed concern about the litter a number of tourists had left in their planters on the sidewalk in the summer of 2020. Others wanted to make sure that all downtown businesses were fairly represented in marketing.
The idea of creating a map of the city center, be it a coated map on a picnic table or signs with a QR code, could keep traditional paper handouts from going to waste. This could help businesses that are not located in the main core of F Street also benefit from restricting the blocks to pedestrians, cyclists, scooters and boarders, etc.
The issue of traffic control was raised. The installation of more positive directional signs has been suggested so that tourists can easily find larger parking spaces or other parking spaces and then turn it into a day.
Signage and barriers at the intersections in Streets E, F and G are also being thought out so that UPS, FedEx and commercial vehicles can serve restaurants and businesses while also contributing to the safety of pedestrians. The city plans to designate a ten foot wide area in the center of the blocks specifically for pedestrian traffic and allow for a safer river.
Together with SBA, the city is working on ideas for a name for the project that could be reminiscent of a friendly, colorful, yet relaxed meeting place that contains the “brand” of small town hospitality for which “Salida Style” is known. This is just the beginning of an ongoing conversation between the city, the public and the local business owners about the desired image and mood.
Featured image: chairs set up for public use on F Street during the 2020 summer season. Image by Brooke Gilmore.