Steamboat Springs The man who worked tirelessly to create Steamboat Springs first homeowner-affordable housing project will not be in charge when that project, West End Village, comes to fruition.
After almost four years as the executive director of the Regional Affordable Living Foundation, Rob Dick resigned Wednesday.
As head of the nonprofit organization, Dick was one of the city's strongest affordable housing advocates. He was instrumental in creating the Hilltop Village Apartment rental units and providing affordable housing for 38 families in the West End Village project.
"Several projects just would not have happened without Rob's expertise, enthusiasm and leadership," said Kathi Meyer, RALF board member and chair of the City Planning Commission.
Dick will work with RALF as a consultant to finish up the West End Village project. Two lots remain unsold, but the infrastructure is in place with the manufactured homes expected to arrive in the next few weeks.
Dick said it was his goal to see the completion of Steamboat's first deed-restricted affordable housing project, which will build 24 single-family homes and seven duplexes on what use to be a gravel pit.
"West End Village has been very difficult to see through. But we are selling the lots, people are going to start building houses any day," Dick said. "I can't wait to see the first house go up there. It will be exhilarating. What we did was turn a gravel pit into a first-rate, wonderful neighborhood"
The RALF Board unanimously voted to appoint Ellen Hoj as the new executive director. Hoj was once the director of the Routt County Planning Department and has been the assistant director at RALF.
"Ellen is extremely knowledgeable. She absolutely knows what she is doing," RALF Board President Karen Beauvais said. "She is very much a people person, knows city government, knows planning and is on fire with affordable housing."
Dick said his resignation was not a surprise to the board; he has actually been in the position longer than expected.
"My work with RALF is really over. I have been putting together West End Village and my work on West End Village is over," Dick said. "I feel now that everything is in position, I can move on."
Dick will go back into private development and is already involved in a multi-use, co-housing project, River Place. He also owns the land for an adjacent project, another multi-use development, Majestic Valley Subdivision.
Dick is interested in creating co-housing and multi-use projects and also wants to expand his developments beyond Steamboat into other parts of Colorado.
"I like building communities and neighborhoods," Dick said.
When Dick became RALF's executive director, he had never worked for a nonprofit organization. After years at an investment banking firm, he entered Steamboat real estate market, developing the co-housing project Butcher Knife, as well as Sunburst Townhomes and Tamarack Point.
As RALF's director, Dick worked to acquire and renovate the 55-unit Hillside Village Apartments. Meyer said the deal's structure was Dick's brainchild and allowed RALF to own its first affordable housing units, which are still being rented today.
"We set out to prove that affordable housing could be a good neighbor," Dick said. "We took over one of the least desirable places in town and now it is a very nice place to live."
When Dick joined RALF, he said the nonprofit was looking for ways to do projects with only funding from the city and county.
When West End Village is completed, Dick said the organization would be worth more than $2 million.
"Everything that has happen in affordable housing in the last three years has happened because of him," Beauvais said.
Meyer said one of Dick's most instrumental roles as executive director was being a voice for RALF.
But Dick said that convincing people that affordable housing is an integral part of a community has been the hardest part of his job.
"Affordable housing is something that is just as important as schools, roadways, sewers and any other public service," Dick said. "There are a significant number of people that don't believe that. They believe housing is and should be a solely private sector endeavor."
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