Community leaders highlight affordable housing efforts during Colorado River Valley Chamber State of the Community event

Silt Town Manager Jeff Layman speaks during a Colorado River Valley Chamber State of the Community event held in Rifle on Tuesday.
Ray K. Erku / Citizen Telegram

Affordable housing options continue to be limited across western Garfield County even as communities continue to add more affordable housing developments.

The Colorado River Valley Chamber State of the Community Event held Tuesday in Rifle honed in on this housing issue, which doesn’t just affect the region, but the entire state of Colorado.

“Attainable housing has become more of an issue in Rifle and the region,” Rifle Planning Director Patrick Waller said. “Recently, the city approved a Habitat for Humanity project that prioritizes city of Rifle citizens for the purchase of 10- townhomes and 10-condo deed-restricted.”

Making strides to provide more affordable housing, in March the city and Habitat for Humanity Roaring Fork Valley teamed up to break ground on a 20-unit affordable housing complex south of Interstate 70, Waller said.

Waller also pointed out a proposal to potentially build a 50-unit affordable housing complex downtown.

“Rifle City Council provided additional support for the project by approving a fee waiver of $100,000.”

Waller also pointed out a proposal to potentially build a 50-unit affordable housing complex downtown.

Silt also has a lot going on in relation to affordable housing projects, Town Manager Jeff Layman said.

“We’ve got a 96-unit, for-rent apartment complex under construction on the far east end of town,” he said.

While community leaders also touched on topics like economic diversification, tax revenues and future projects, their presentations showed about seven major housing projects either in the planning stages or already completed.

Layman in particular highlighted five housing projects, including the 96 units at River Trace, in the Silt area.

Silt Mayor Keith Richel said a 70-unit, tiny home project at the KOA south of Interstate 70 is doing especially well.

“That is a very unique project,” he said. “There’s a lot of skepticism whether that thing will take off or not. The first units sold great.”

For the Parachute-Battlement Mesa community, they simply went from seeing a lot of housing left vacant following busts in the oil and gas industry, to refilling due to greater influxes of people moving in.

Battlement Mesa Metro District Manager Steve Rippy said in a written letter that the Willow Ridge and Willow Park apartments were purchased by large corporations that target apartment ownership.

“The apartments which had a nearly 60% vacancy rate several years ago, are now at capacity,” he said. “With about a six-month waiting list.”


In addition to highlighting affordable housing development, civic leaders took time to address projects aimed at attracting new businesses and improving the community.

Outgoing Parachute Mayor Roy McClung touched on the Town of Parachute Adventures Service. Better known as “TOPS,” the city set out in 2016 to create an affordable service for people to rent all-terrain vehicles for exploring, as well as kayaks and tubes for floating down the Colorado River.

The effort aimed at spurring business interests, and now, McClung said, the effort has worked.

“Recently, we had a company out of Grand Junction — Grand Junction Adventures — that wanted to come in and purchase our inventory and take over running this as a business in conjunction with some of the other businesses that they have in Grand Junction,” he said. “So we’ve completed that transaction.”

“This is really moving us forward with the recreation we’ve got in mind that’s going to help Parachute continue to grow and thrive and prosper.”

A large crowd listens in during a Colorado River Valley Chamber State of the Community event held in Rifle on Tuesday.
Ray K. Erku / Citizen Telegram

For Rifle, they ushered in the end of 2021 with a new downtown revitalization project. The downtown area saw its asphalt roads replaced by concrete and added flexible parking conducive to outdoor dining, said Rifle Civil Engineer Craig Spaulding.

“The project has been awarded the American Concrete Institute’s excellence in concrete construction award,” he said.

When it comes to improving the community, Silt has gone from having no recreational programs to having several, Layman said.

“We’ve added a bunch of kids programs, trying to keep some of the little ones closer to home,” he said. “We’ve got the two seasons in soccer, both boys and girls, and we’ve got basketball for kids, too, and we’re going to have a T-ball season this year.”

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or

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