Surveys next step in housing project |

Surveys next step in housing project

Phillip YatesGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE, Colorado – Plans to redevelop a 30-acre property in Rifle for a large affordable-housing project that could have more than 200 rentals, condos, townhomes and single-family homes are slowly coming into sharper focus.Partners in the project are about a month away from giving their employees and others surveys to find out if they are interested in the affordable housing project and what kind of housing they would like to see, said Ed Green, Garfield County manager.Garfield County, Rifle, the Grand Valley Hospital District, Garfield School District Re-2 and the Aspen Community Foundation are all partners in the affordable housing project.”We’ve sort of formed a core group that is working pretty well together,” Green said. Paul Menter, finance director for the Aspen Community Foundation, said the future of the project depends on what the survey results show.”The goal (here) is try to develop a project that fits well in the community that helps critical employees to find housing in the communities they work,” Menter said.Menter said the foundation just recently formed a new office in Glenwood Springs and that one of its major focuses right now is to help communities develop an affordable housing program that “works for them.” Assisting with the Rifle affordable housing project is the foundation’s first attempt to do that, he said.What’s been going on and what’s in the future?The partners behind the project have engineering work ongoing at the property to determine infrastructure needs and projected costs, Green said.He added that all the participants have made financial commitments to the project, although he declined to reveal what those may be.Green said that the groups behind the affordable housing project have also met with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs – which offers financial assistance for many local government projects – and that it is “very receptive to assisting with grant funds” for the project.”We have a lot of resources,” Green said. “This is getting a lot of momentum.”Green said the county and the other partners are looking to hire a developer for the project sometime this year. Infrastructure development at the property, which would include roads and sewer systems, would probably occur in 2009. It is hoped that by the end of 2009 developers will begin building residential units on the property and that some residences will be available for area workers by the spring of 2010.Administration of the homes in the affordable housing project will probably be conducted by the Garfield County Housing Authority, Green said.Green said it won’t be too hard to find a developer to build the affordable homes. He said many are already “lining up” to make proposals to the groups behind the project. A breakdown of how many free-market homes, if any, in the affordable-housing project still has to be determined.”We don’t think it will be too tough to make it affordable,” Green said. “We have the money amassed for infrastructure improvements, and we already own the land. Those are key components.”Contact Phillip Yates: 384-9117pyates@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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