West End Village coming to fruition

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— By this time next year, 38 local families will realize a dream that had always eluded them in Steamboat Springs celebrating the holidays in their own homes.

The infrastructure work on the West End Village project is nearing completion, and manufactured homes are being built in a factory over the winter. That means by late spring 2003, houses will start to go on the lots in Steamboat's first affordable housing project, where locals get to own the homes.

A development of the Regional Affordable Living Foundation, the West End Village project is providing 24 single-family homes and seven duplexes for families that live and work in Routt County and make 120 percent or less of the area median income.

Three of the duplex units will be built by Habitat for Humanity, and the first family has already been chosen, with construction expected to start this spring.

The West End Village project is west of Steamboat on U.S. Highway 40, and construction began this spring.

Despite going through more than 150 people who have signed up for the project, RALF Executive Director Rob Dick said two single-family homes and two duplexes remain unfilled. RALF continues to go through the list, which has 207 names on it and was created at the June 25 housing expo when priority numbers were randomly given for choosing lots in the project.

Dick said people who had expressed interest and participated in the random drawing could no longer purchase a lot because they moved away, lost their jobs, did not have a high-enough income or had poor credit.

"It is disappointing because people got their hopes up and had their mind set on something," Dick said. "But for some reason poor credit, they moved or left town they couldn't do it."

With most of the infrastructure completed, Dick encouraged those who have reserved lots to drive up to the development and look at their lots.

So far, the gas, cable, phone and sewer lines have been completed. The first layer of asphalt for roads, water lines and electric lines are 95 percent completed. Sidewalks will go in this spring.

The next step for the project, Dick said, is to record the final plate with the city by mid-December and to close on the lots shortly thereafter. The final engineering has been submitted to the city.

Since the housing expo, homeowners have been meeting with Dave Combs of Crystal Peak Construction to choose modular homes. Those homes are being built in a factory this winter and will be sent to Steamboat for the spring. But a deadline has not been set for when the homes have to go on the lots.

"We may allow a little more time to build if (owners) have trailers to sell or condos to sell," Dick said. "We may be a little more lenient on when they have to build their house if they have problems selling something."

Dick said RALF has not determined what to do with the land that had originally been set aside for townhomes. Originally, RALF had hoped that the two lots could provide 18 to 26 multi-family units.

Along with the 38 housing units through RALF, the West End Village project also has 41 homes that will be built and sold at market value.

To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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