The Chaffee County Community Foundation (CCCF), in a potential partnership with the Chaffee Housing Authority (CHA), announces a proposal to develop a half- acre site at the corner of Highway 291 and 3rd Street in Salida to serve local flexible housing and nonprofit needs. The development, currently being called “Jane’s Place,” in honor of the late Jane Whitmer, is proposed on property owned by Jane and her husband Ron Ferris. Jane was a life-long champion for the Salida community and recognized the need for flexible housing solutions and nonprofit hub; the original concept for parts of the development came from Jane herself before she passed in mid-2019. Seasonal employees, visiting professionals, entry-level wage earners, families and individuals in crisis, and Americorps volunteers serving local nonprofits are the primary target populations that Jane’s Place housing will serve.
Jane’s Place is envisioned as an innovative and one-of-a-kind development, combining multiple housing types together with service provision, nonprofit incubator and co-working center, and a social enterprise coffee shop. In addition to Jane’s original vision of housing for families, women, and children, the creativity and in-kind work of local architect Robert Grether has been formative to the creation of this concept. Together with the Chaffee County Office of Housing’s Director Becky Gray and CCCF Executive Director Joseph Teipel, this development has been in the planning stages since mid-2020.
Jane’s Place proposes four buildings including 17 housing units, and 1,375 square feet of nonprofit and community collaboration space on the site, currently zoned commercial C-1. In the proposed model, CCCF will purchase the site, own the land in perpetuity, and ground lease that land to CHA through a 99-year lease. CHA will then build, own, and manage the property as its first physical project since CHA’s inception in late 2020. At its inaugural board meeting on February 18th, the CHA board of directors heard an overview of Jane’s Place and gave a formal head nod to Director Becky Gray to pursue the concept. The CHA board will need to formally vote on developing, owning, and managing the project once the city zoning approvals have been issued.
The proposed development will require a Planned Development approval with variances for the number of housing units and parking. This process was kicked off on November 30th, 2020 in a joint work session between the Salida City Council and the Salida Planning Commission. Initial feedback was overwhelmingly positive from the elected and appointed officials. The project partners intend to submit a formal Planned Development application in time for consideration at the April 26th, 2021 Salida Planning Commission meeting.
In an effort to raise public support and awareness about the positive community impacts of Jane’s Place on the Salida community, CCCF and CHA are hosting two virtual public meetings via Zoom on March 4th and March 18th, both starting at 5:30pm. Both meetings will offer residents, stakeholders, and others an opportunity to learn more about the project and ask questions. In addition, more information can be found at https://www.chaffeecommunity.org/janesplace. A public fundraising campaign will help to pay for the project, with more information forthcoming. For questions about supporting the project, please reach out to Joseph Teipel at email@example.com.