Recreation Department staff are busy working on some very exciting projects for 2014, including a citywide playground replacement program and renovations to the Scout Hut.
The City’s playgrounds are outdated and contain equipment that does not meet current safety standards. The City Council would like to replace one playground per year until they have all been replaced or updated. The Scout Hut, a space with much potential for community and private events, has various problems and needs including: electrical and plumbing upgrades, potential foundation issues, and general maintenance needs such as painting, appliance replacement and landscape improvements.
As with other city projects, it is important to get community input and buy-in and both projects will include public meetings as well as meetings with stakeholders and staff. An initial public meeting will be held on March 13th to gather ideas and concerns from Salida citizens as to what they would like to see in their playgrounds.
DOLA, the Department of Local Affairs supports a program through the University of Colorado – Denver, whereby graduate students, guided by a certified Architect, can get hands on experience in the planning and designing process for parks and recreation related projects. This program asks the City to pay a minimum of what these types of projects would normally cost with DOLA covering the balance. The City gets a well-executed plan and the University students get real-life hands on experience. These plans will be on display for comment at the public meeting and www.salidarec.com/parks.
The City Council plans to use Conservation Trust Funds (CTF) to pay for the playground equipment and installation. CTF is money that is due to the City from the Colorado Lottery and is paid on a per capita basis annually. Salida receives approximately $50,000 annually from the CTF.
The following is an excerpt from the DOLA website defining Conservation Trust Fund:
The Colorado Constitution (Article XXVII, Section 3), as amended in 1992, directs 40% of the net proceeds of the Colorado Lottery to the Conservation Trust Fund for distribution to municipalities and counties and other eligible entities for parks, recreation, and open space purposes.
Funding can be used for the acquisition, development, and maintenance of new conservation sites or for capital improvements or maintenance for recreational purposes on any public site.* New conservation sites are defined in statute as being interests in land and water, acquired after establishment of a conservation trust fund, for park or recreation purposes, for all types of open space, including but not limited to flood plains, green belts, agricultural lands or scenic areas, or for any scientific, historic, scenic, recreation, aesthetic or similar purpose (CRS 29-21-101).
Centennial Park, located at 410 W Highway 50, will be getting new playground equipment installed this spring. This equipment has already been purchased using CTF monies and has been delivered to the City. Public Works will be working with installers to complete this project in time for this summer season.
The March 13 public meeting will also cover possible renovations to the City-owned Scout Hut, located in Riverside Park (210 E. Sackett Avenue). Anyone interested in commenting on the future of this community gathering spot is invited to attend.
Funding for renovations to the Scout Hut has not yet been identified. The Scout Hut is located in the Historic District, but is not defined as a “contributing structure,” which means it is not eligible to receive Historic Fund Grants. It may not be a contributing structure, but the Scout Hut does have a long history in Salida.
Built in the 1940’s, it has since been used for community and scout troop gatherings and functions. When the Salida Scouts were no longer able to take care of the facility, they reached agreement with the City of Salida to manage and care for the property, while the Scouts retained the ability to use the Hut for Scout meetings, events and storage.
If you are not able to attend the public meeting on March 13 but would like to comment on either the playground plan or Scout Hut renovations, please feel free to submit your comments to: Theresa.firstname.lastname@example.org or call Theresa at 539-6738. Information will also be posted to www.salidarec.com/parks as it becomes available.