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Move afoot to secure city status for Salida

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POSTED September 6, 2013 12:28 a.m.

Ripon’s neighbor just across the Stanislaus River is following the Almond Capital’s successful 1945 effort to become a city in its own right by first forming a non-profit chamber of commerce and uniting its residents through the use of the neighborhood computer network website dubbed www.nextdoor.com.

Katherine Borges of the Salida Municipal Advisory Group (Salida MAC) and a Salida Rotarian has been leading a charge to keep the city of Modesto from annexing her community in that city’s  quest to draw clean industry into the areas on both sides of Highway 99. Salidans fear a loss of their identity in the process.

Borges has been recognized as having a passion for her community much like Ripon’s Clementine “Clem” Mulholland in Ripon’s formative years – doing just about everything herself and never taking “no” for an answer.

It’s safe to say the way she started out as a one-woman-campaign has evolved into a community effort tentatively taken annexation off the table and putting the question of annexation currently into a state of limbo. 

If the incorporation effort eventually goes before the Local Agency Formation Commission for approval, it will carry a $150,000 price tag.   Borges has spent countless hours researching Ripon’s move to incorporation in the mid ‘40s, meeting with John Mangelos of the Ripon Historical Society and scouring through past issues and micro-fish of the Ripon Record as well as visiting the city’s museum.

Salida is Stanislaus County’s largest unincorporated community that will be using the “Nextdoor” site – a private network for neighborhoods – to foster neighbor-to-neighbor unification and community communications, Borges explained.  The private network is already in operation from San Jose to Dallas and lauded by city police chiefs as a deterrent to crime.

“We believe healthier and more engaged neighborhoods create stronger communities,” Borges chimed.  “Nextdoor will help create a stronger and a safer Salida.”  She believes the effort will also help to retain the small town character of the community.

Some of the community’s residents have already established their own private websites where they are getting to know their neighbors, asking questions, and exchanging ideas, advice and recommendations, she added. 

“For example,  neighbors use Nexdoor to share information about their “Neighborhood Watch” and safety issues, local events like the recent Salida Town and Country Festival, school activities, upcoming garage sales, lost pets and much more,” she said.

The Nextdoor website is free for residents and for the community as a whole.  It was specifically designed to make neighbors feel comfortable sharing information with one another and helping to  build stronger communities, she added. 

All members of the network are required to verify that they live within a given neighborhood and share information with a protected password that cannot be accessed by anyone outside their specific neighborhood or found on Google or other search engines, she said.

In addition, Borges added, Nextdoor never shares personal information with any third parties.  Unlike an email listserv or other similar groups, Neighbor posts are organized and archived for future reference.  Neighborhoods establish and self-manage their own Nextdoor website, she said.  

The Salida MAC will also post important information such as meetings’ times and dates and note other local events.  Salida’s Community Sheriff’s Deputy can post crime and safety updates to Nextdoor sites within the community.  Borges added that the Salida Municipal Advisory Committee will not be allowed to access the residents’ websites, contact information, or content.

Founder of the Nextdoor “Historic Salida” Nextdoor neighborhood, Karen Grone, said, “I look forward to meeting some of my neighbors for the first time and I hope it will make us more connected and even a better neighborhood.”

Borges, also president of the recently formed Salida Chamber of Commerce, noted that Salida has been mapped into 13 different neighborhoods. She said that those interested in joining their neighborhood’s Nextdoor network can visit www.nextdoor.com and enter their address to immediately sign up.  Questions may be fielded at help.nextdoor.com or by emailing salidamac@gmail.com regarding the Nextdoor site.

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