New Castle senior facility clears significant hurdle
If everything goes as planned, construction on a new affordable housing facility for seniors in New Castle could start in early 2016.
The project cleared an early but significant hurdle Friday with the town council’s approval of several fee reductions and a land purchase option for Community Resources & Housing Development Corp. — a Colorado nonprofit that developed and manages the existing New Castle Senior Housing facility.
Current plans call for 50 affordable units on a 2.8-acre parcel southwest of the intersection of Castle Valley Boulevard and Blackhawk Drive. The town currently owns the parcel. The units would be available to residents at least 55 years old with an income at or less than 60 percent of the area median income.
Council reduced the recreational facilities development fee to $250 per unit, from $500 per unit, and the water rights dedication fee to $1,000 per equivalent residential usage (EQR), from $6,000 per EQR. Additionally, council waived the $8,516 plan review fee and set the land purchase option price at $197,500 — well below the town’s assessment, according to Tom Baker, town manager.
The fee reductions and compromise on the price were needed to ensure that CRHDC would be able to move forward with the project, Mayor Bob Gordon said.
“We think there’s a lot of benefit of having them in there, and we don’t want to make it so they can’t get in there,” he said. “We’re certainly not giving anything away.”
CRHDC needed council to approve the items in order to apply for a tax credit through the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority by May 1. Construction would likely be delayed two years without the tax credit, said Robin Wolff, CRHDC director of marketing and resource development. CRHDC could break ground in early 2016 if it is awarded the tax credit, Wolff added.
With an aging population, New Castle, like many other towns and cities in Garfield County, does not have enough affordable housing for seniors to keep up with the demand, said Leslie Means, New Castle Senior Housing property manager. The existing 24-unit facility is at capacity, with a wait list averaging 20 people.
“There’s a tremendous need for it, and I guarantee when this development is finished it will fill up like that,” Gordon said as he snapped his fingers.
Discussions between the town and CRHDC date back to the fall of 2013. Representatives from both parties met at a housing conference that year in Vail, where CRHDC presented a preliminary document calling for 37 units and a community center at a cost of $7.18 million, according to a CRHDC document.
At the town’s request, CRHDC conducted a market analysis that concluded the area could support a 50-unit facility, Wolff said.
The process is still in the early stages, Gordon said — noting that it took five years to conceptualize and complete the existing facility. But the town, he added, is excited about the possibility of providing another option to New Castle’s seniors.
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Crews started working at 9 a.m. Wednesday to remove the wreckage of a FedEx semi hauling two tractor trailers. One lane of Interstate 70 EB was closed with intermittent full lane closures throughout the day.