Help for housing

Housing availability in Salida took a positive step last week with the city council’s approval of a major impact review for Jane’s Place.

Named for the late Jane Whitmer, a Salida resident who died in 2019,  the planned development at the southwest corner of Colo. 291 and Third Street, will feature four buildings and 17 housing units, including studio, single- and multi-bedroom apartments.

The development is proposed by Chaffee County Community Foundation, Chaffee Housing Trust and Salida architect Bob Grether.

It’s significant that two of the three developing entities are the Community Foundation and Chaffee Housing Trust.

As an individual, Mr. Grether has been a key figure in other notable city projects, namely the work and improvements done at Salida SteamPlant.

According to the application to the city, the intent is to provide housing to those with a mix of income levels at no more than 30 percent of an individual’s income. The apartments are designated to rent to those whose income falls between 20 and 200 percent of the county’s area median income, which the U.S. Census Bureau listed as $55,771 for the years 2015-2019.

While the complex received generally favorable support, parking, or more specifically the lack thereof, is an issue. The land use code calls for 25 parking spaces for the development while the developers asked for a variance for just 12.

Mr. Grether said developers are putting a priority on housing over parking, that they are considering charging extra for parking and to discourage car ownership.

What this ultimately means is that some renters will likely be parking a block or two from where they live, which could be a problem for families with kids and for those with physical limitations. It also could put a degree of stress on the neighborhood since vehicles will almost certainly be parked in front of neighbors’ homes.

In giving the development its endorsement, the council showed its willingness to overlook the parking deficiency in favor of providing housing for lower income individuals and families.

As a rural community, Salida does not have the transportation options available in metro areas. Area residents depend on their vehicles to get around, which is likely to be the case for years to come. This being the case, city officials will need to work with the developers to mitigate the development’s parking limitations.

While the lack of parking is a concern, Jane’s Place will help provide a much needed source of housing for lower income individuals and families.

Great generosity

In less than three years, Chaffee County Women Who Care have contributed more than $100,000 to 10 different nonprofits, including a recent grant of $11,700 to the National Alliance of Mental Illness of Chaffee County.

Women Who Care is made up of more than 100 members who make $100 quarterly gifts to a selected community organization. The result is selected recipients receive a substantial grant of at least $10,000.

Past grants have gone to victims of sexual abuse through Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners; preschoolers through Imagination Library and Buena Vista Rotary; older county residents through Ark Valley Helping Hands; community health through Planned Parenthood; teen girls through elevateHer; homeless through Chaffee County Hospitality; and peace and justice through Full Circle Restorative Justice.

Thanks to Women Who Care and the great generosity of its members, this valley is a better place to live, work and raise a family.

— MJB