Land deal signed

Trailer park residents find a home

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— Thanks to a former Steamboat Springs resident with a big heart, residents of a local trailer park will hopefully own part of an almost $1 million dollar piece of property by the end of the year.

"We do have a deal and it is signed," said Bob Geer, the realtor whose been working on the deal.

The Regional Affordable Living Foundation is buying the five acres of property along U.S. Highway 40 near the Sheriff's Office as a way to help residents of the Trailer Haven mobile home park. The residents are being forced to leave the property where there trailers sit at Oak and Third streets because it was bought by the Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Association.

The new property is owned by Denver resident Marsha Klein who was raised in Steamboat Springs.

RALF, the non-profit group dedicated to affordable housing causes, will pay Klein $750,000 for the property. It was originally listed at $995,000.

RALF Executive Director Rob Dick admitted Klein has probably sacrificed a little profit to make the deal work.

"She may have been able to find a cash deal for more money, however she was convinced that this was the right thing to do... to allow us to develop this," Dick said.

Klein could not be reached for comment at her Denver home.

Geer confirmed there was emotion involved in Klein's decision. Klein was raised on the property and shared ownership with her brother, who passed away several years ago.

"Her brother was a builder and did do a fair amount of building for affordable housing," Geer said.

In fact, RALF wants to name the main street in the development after the Klein family.

As for development, RALF has plans to put 24-30 homesites on three of the five acres.

Trailer Haven residents will be given the option to buy or rent the homesites or "pads." Since there are only ten trailers at Trailer Haven, there will be sites to accommodate other trailer owners or people who may want to buy or rent pads from RALF.

"The target is to make sure it doesn't cost the people owning or renting, more than $300/month," Dick said.

The non-profit agency wants to sell the other two acres as commercial property as a way to help fund the cost of the new affordable housing project.

"The commercial portion of the site, which is the front, has the most value," Dick said.

"It's on Highway 40 with lots of visibility."

Dick said the site would also be perfect for a new fire station.

In the meantime, RALF is working on finding low-cost financing to pay for the property as well as to help residents buy individual lots.

But the first big obstacle is taking a development plan through city planning.

Planning Director Wendy Schulenberg said the department hasn't seen a plan yet so it cannot predict a timeline for approval.

That could have been a problem for residents at Trailer Haven since they were suppose to be off their current property by May 1, but that deadline has been extended to August 6.

The recreation center's board president, Stuart Handloff, said the board's attorney advised them to send an eviction notice that gave the trailer residents six months legal notice.

"It (the notice) says that the park is being used for other purposes and that all trailers will be removed by August 6," Handloff said.

"In effect we're extending the deadline."

Handloff said the board's attorney wanted to make sure state statute was strictly abided by when giving the trailer park residents the new eviction notice.

Reaction from the Trailer Haven residents was lukewarm.

"I'm not sure it's still enough time to relocate," said Doug Lockwood, an outspoken resident of Trailer Haven.

"This sounds like 'oh, in order for us to evict you we have to give you a legal eviction notice.'"

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