Thirty years ago, no one could have predicted just how much Salida would grow, and few today can accurately predict how much it will continue to grow in the next 30 years. How it will grow and whether that growth will be beneficial, not just to the residents of Salida but also to the residents of the county, remains to be seen.
On Aug. 7, the Board of Supervisors adopted an initiative known as Salida Now. I read through the 72-page initiative several times and I still don't fully understand every provision in it, but one thing is clear — the architects of Salida Now have big plans for our not-so-little unincorporated area.
This is not new. The 2000 Salida Community Plan also wanted big things for, and from, Salida and its surrounding land.
Stanislaus County faces serious issues of high housing costs, joblessness and the working poor. The growth that occurs in the county needs to alleviate those issues, not exacerbate them. We need to figure out how to build in a responsible, fiscally sound method that provides the roads, sewers, police and fire protection, and educational institutions to support development.
Two years ago, during a discussion of the 2000 Salida Community Plan, Supervisor Ray Simon said the priority of the board when the plan was first devised was to stabilize the economy of the county. If done right, the growth that occurs through Salida Now can be a part of that.
Even with a population of 14,000-plus, Salida has managed to retain its small-town feel. We have a great school system, decent roads, a few nice parks and the opportunity to live in the country without being deprived of the necessities of city living.
Salida is an entity in and of itself and has no desire to be a part of any other. There is nothing wrong with Modesto, but if residents wanted to live in Modesto, they would have moved to Modesto. Annexation is not an option Salida desires.
Salida wants to be more than a poor relation, relying on the county for services we can't provide ourselves. Salida is a growing community with potential, and we want a chance to have a strong economy. Growth is going to happen. It can't be stopped. But it can be done in such a manner as to be beneficial to the community.
That should be the primary goal when bringing Salida Now to fruition. If that growth allows Salida to one day incorporate, good job. But responsible growth that pays for itself must be the focus when approving projects. It is not the responsibility of the supervisors to help Salida incorporate; it is, however, their responsibility to do what they can to ensure any growth that is allowed under Salida Now benefits the community in which it occurs.
Moore is a longtime resident of Salida. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.