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Salida considers F Street closure for 4th straight year for patio expansions during summer months

Some business owners on F Street are critical of the closure while others are fully supportive of it
Salida F Street
Posted at 6:46 PM, Apr 26, 2023

SALIDA, Colo. — All along F Street in Salida, you can find the businesses and the people that give this place its small-town charm.

That sense of community is why so many people care about what happens on the street. In February, Salida City Council began discussing a proposal to shut down F Street this summer for a fourth straight year. This started during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The Salida F Street closure is set to begin Memorial Day weekend and continue through Labor Day weekend, if approved by city council.

The roadway is lined with an art gallery, hair salons, jewelers and plenty of restaurants and other retail.

Salida F Street

“I keep my door open in the summer because it’s so beautiful out,” said Nicole Brin, owner of Structure Gallery on F Street.

She has her work, along with her husband's work and friends' work, on display and has done art shows for about 26 years.

The owner of Krivanek Jewelers, Mark Krivanek, on F Street, has been in Salida for 28 years.

“We try to stick with all natural gemstones,” Krivanek said of some of their jewelry. “That's kind of what my love is.”

But in Salida, the people are real gems, too.

Donna Martinez, owner of a salon on F Street, moved to the area in 1962 and has been in Salida for about 20 years.

“This is a quaint, neat, little laidback town," she said. "I get to meet all kinds of people. And I know their pets, their family, everybody. I consider them all friends and customers.”

One of her long-time customers, Donna Troutman, said she gets her hair done every week.

It’s those friendships and businesses that make the small town so special.

Salida F Street

Business owners said closing down the road also closes parking, which makes it difficult to get around downtown. It also gives restaurants more breathing room with the option to expand their patios into the streets.

Some people, like Brin of Structure Galley, fully support the closure.

“I think it's nice,” she said. “It promotes people coming. They put a pergola up and it’s very inviting to families and kids... You can sit outside and just relax a little bit more. You don’t have to worry about the kids, which is nice.”

Other people say the yearly tradition is now outdated and unnecessary.

“I think with COVID it was OK," Martinez said. "But to continue it on and on. It’s not good. I do have some clients that will not come down here because of the street closures.”

Troutman said the closures make it difficult for senior citizens to get around.

At the jewelry store, Krivanek said he’s on the fence about the renewed discussion to close F Street.

“It’s hard to determine whether or not we’ve actually seen if the closure is beneficial financially,” he said.

The new Salida mayor, Dan Shore, said he hears those concerns.

“Obviously, there were people that were unhappy with it,” Shore said. “And I respect that.”

Salida considers F Street closure for 4th straight year for patio expansions during summer months

But he said an overwhelming majority of people support closing F Street during the summer. The proof is in surveys the town conducted.

"This is a town of about 6,000 people and we got approximately 1,200 survey responses," Shore said. "And of those, 80% of respondents either supported it or strongly supported it.”

Both Martinez and Troutman did not agree with those results. Martinez estimated that in her experience, about 50% of people would support it. Krivanek agreed, guessing the town is split 50-50 on the issue.

Whatever the case, it’s a debate that will continue — not only in Salida, but across the state of Colorado.

Cities big and small throughout the state are struggling with how to implement both temporary and permanent street closures moving forward.

Many cities are discussing a charge or fee for restaurants and businesses that choose to expand their space. Salida ultimately decided against a fee. Golden reversed its fee structure, which totaled thousands of dollars for a single business, after pushback from the public and business community.

The City of Denver charges a nominal fee of around $600 for permanent patio expansion.

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