Property maintenance code to be enforced

Dara MacDonald – Community Development Director & Terry Clark – Police Chief

Ten or fifteen years ago the downtown was more of a ghost town than the vibrant focus of the community. Riverside Park, the SteamPlant and the whitewater park are helping to bring locals and visitors downtown, but it is the renewed interest in the historic buildings that is most exciting. Over the last few years many owners have invested in maintenance or rehabilitation of their buildings and the results are commendable.

An attractive and well-maintained downtown is a place where people feel safe and desire to spend time and money. It can be frustrating for owners who do maintain their buildings, that adjacent owners leave their building vacant or allow them to deteriorate. In addition, proper maintenance of structures reduces the risk of damage to buildings and the high cost of major repairs. It is for these reasons that the city adopted the 2006 Property Maintenance Code, effective January 1, 2008.

During the month of October 2008 the City’s code enforcement division conducted a sidewalk survey of all the multi-family and commercial structures in the historic downtown area. In the coming months the remaining multi-family and commercial structures in the city will be analyzed for compliance with the 2006 IPMC.

Many of the violations to the code that have been documented are cosmetic or require minor repairs to decorative cornices, masonry walls or windows. Where violations of the code have been identified, property owners will be notified beginning in mid-November.  Due to the nature of the repairs, many of which will require paint and other weather-dependent repairs, property owners will be given 6 months from the first notice of the offense to come into compliance and make proper repairs.

For someone who is unfamiliar with maintenance of historic structures, it can be intimidating to get a notice that maintenance work must be done.  The city is dedicated to working with property owners to bring their property into compliance.  If painting or repairs are going to be made, they should be done properly so that the work is long lasting and done in a way that honors the building. Too often in our culture, we turn to the quick and cheap solution, but our buildings downtown were built to last and can stand for another 100 years if maintenance is done properly.

Historic Salida, Inc and the City are planning workshops for this winter that will provide education for both owners and tradespeople about the proper techniques for maintenance of buildings in the historic downtown. These workshops will be free and open to the public.  Since owners will have 6 months to plan for repairs, we hope they, local tradespeople and interested citizens will take advantage of these workshops to learn the skills to do proper repairs that will last.

More information about the workshops sponsored by Historic Salida, Inc will be available in the coming months. If you would like to be included in updates on the scheduling of these workshops please contact City Hall and we will be sure to keep you informed. Together we can ensure that our downtown continues to thrive.

The Citizen is happy to provide a forum for comments and discussion. Please be civil, truthful, and relevant. Please suggest removal of comments that violate these standards. Real names are appreciated.