Vista Auto Group makes donation to Catholic Charities

Pete FowlerPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS Vista Auto Group donated funds to help people moving from a hotel because of its car dealership plans.Vista gave an undisclosed amount to Catholic Charities to aid people who are getting displaced from the 1st Choice Inns. Vista closed a deal to purchase the inns last week, according to Vista Auto Group president Rod Buscher.This is a real God-send for these families, said Tom Ziemann, director of Catholic Charities. Were talking about some significant dollars, and these arent dollars that we had in our budget.Ziemann said Catholic Charities approached Vista. Ziemann told Vista about the troubles families living in the 1st Choice Inns as a permanent residence are facing while trying to find a new home in the area. Ziemann said people have told him they must leave the inns by Friday. He hopes to use the extra money to either help them find places to live or to help them go elsewhere if they cant find anywhere in the area. With the difficult housing market, he appreciates Vistas help.This is a wonderful gesture on their part, he said. They understand that housing is such a huge issue here.Ziemann emphasized that landlords and property agents could help people find housing if they came to Catholic Charities before advertising vacancies. One of Catholic Charities functions is to help people find and get into housing. Ziemann said its a difficult task since the housing market is so tight in and around Glenwood Springs.Maybe they could call us first and we could talk about whether or not the family could maintain the place, he said.He encouraged anyone with a lead on an apartment or looking for a roommate to call Catholic Charities at 384-2060.Buscher said the deal to purchase the 1st Choice Inns for around $4.9 million closed last week. He emphasized that all plans require the citys approval and cannot become a reality without it. He said the amount of money donated is not important and declined to disclose the amount.We want to be a good neighbor and a good member of the community, he said. The buildings had really aged and were not in very good shape and were probably not very great living conditions, but we understand the difficulty that people are dealing with so we made a donation to Catholic Charities.Buscher said plans for a three-story building have been scrapped as it was too difficult to meet the different guidelines of each auto manufacturer in one building. Instead, Vista plans to present to the city plans for a 20,000 square-foot Honda dealership and a separate 22,000 square foot Subaru and Nissan facility on the 5.6 acre site of the 1st Choice Inns and the Budget Host. Vista purchased the Budget Host for $1.3 million in August. The two budget hotels provided about 142 rooms.Asked about the prospect, Buscher said that if the auto dealership plans are approved, a trailer home on the lot directly east of the Village Green Townhomes could be displaced to make way for a road to access the townhome complex. Buscher noted that tenants currently access the townhomes via a road between the Budget Host and 1st Choice Inns. He said there was also some concern about that road not being a very good access for fire control.The property where the current Honda and Subaru dealerships are located will become redeveloped if the plans go through, Buscher said. Vista leases the property and is unsure what might go in the spot, he added.Contact Pete Fowler:

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