Our View: Mobile home park purchase good

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— The preceding five years have persuaded us that it is easier to conserve the existing stock of community housing than it is to create new entry level homes.

It is with that belief in mind that we welcomed the news this week that the Yampa Valley Housing Authority has contracted to purchase the eight-acre Fish Creek Mobile Home Park from Bob and Audrey Enever.

Should the sale go through, it would represent long-term security for 68 households in the exclusively owner-occupied mobile home park.

This newspaper consistently editorialized for the past two years in support of the right of the owner of the downtown Westland Mobile Home Park to pursue redevelopment of his land. We continue to stand on that principle. But that doesn't mean we didn't share a little of the pain resulting from that loss of community housing. Nor does it mean we don't look forward to celebrating the Fish Creek deal.

It would be difficult to place a dollar value on the emotional security the residents of the trailer park would enjoy should the deal be finalized. For the first time in several years, they can look forward to a future in the neighborhood bounded by Fish Creek, the Yampa River and the botanic park. They can invest in home improvements that will improve their quality of life, and they can feel secure in the knowledge they have a place where they can nurture a family.

The Enevers say they had their tenants in mind when they decided not to seek to maximize the return on the investment they made when they purchased the mobile home park in 1975. They gave the housing authority first crack at the property.

"We meet these folks every day," Bob Enever said of his tenants. "We see them at the grocery story. Many have become friends. Audrey and I feel an obligation to help them continue in the place they have lived in. We're aware of how traumatic it would be to move."

Asked if the pending contract represents an act of philanthropy, Enever said it's difficult to be certain without having fully explored the market.

Housing Authority Executive Director Elizabeth Black would not discuss the amount of the contract, except to say that it was based on an appraisal and her agency's fiscal constraints. She said the housing authority has much work to do in order to secure financing for the purchase and it will be a stretch to afford, even with the lot rent it will collect from owners.

"It will be years before we see (positive cash flow) and we have no intention of funding the authority on the backs of the hard-working residents," she said.

Enever said individual lot rents vary from lot to lot based on the desirability of their location. However, the average of the total is $386 a month. That's about $150 less than what the market will bear, he added.

Black promised the authority would strive to make the ownership transition financially neutral to the homeowners.

The acquisition of the trailer park is particularly important she said because at this point in the valley's history, the pressures of the real estate market are being exerted on properties that make good candidates for redevelopment.

We hope that a variety of government agencies and lending institutions will do what they can to help the housing authority close on this worthwhile transaction.

Comments

Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 3 months ago

Whatever happens, good job for the Enevers for looking out for their neighbors. Sure they could have taken big bucks for the property and told all the tenants, "Sorry, but you knew you'd be tossed on your butt eventually." They took the high road, instead. Great Job!!

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corduroy 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm glad at least one community isn't going to force their tenants to pack up and leave like Westland. It's true, its easier to support the affordable housing we already have than to build new units. On the other hand I've come to terms with the fact that although I love it here, I'll probably be leaving in the next few years only because I can't afford to live here and work here anymore.

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spukomy 7 years, 3 months ago

Hats off to the Enevers for caring about the people. Until I took the For Sale sign down today, I was planning on taking a loss on my mobile home (as most do) and retreating to the Stagecoach area. One bedroon condos are now up over $200K. And after this summer, any 2 bdrm places will be out of my families' reach. New, downtown condos will be available for at least $400/sq foot. New mountain condos are hitting $650 sq/foot. There's truly so little affordable housing left. And so few people like the Enevers.

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bigdog 7 years, 3 months ago

What is your definition of affordable housing? Cheap enough for YOU to afford it? Who draws the line?

I am a free market advocate and my definition of "affordable housing" is simple - If someone can afford it and is willing to pay the price, then it is by definition affordable.

I am sure the bed wetting socialist will want to yell at me for not caring and want to hang me, but I can take it. I have some rope for sell if you can "afford" it.

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spukomy 7 years, 3 months ago

Hey Big Dog, I thought it might be obvious, but everyone's idea of "affordable housing" is the same. Yes, that means the person involved can afford it. And the people who "draw the line" are the ones paying the bills. Those would be the same people as those who can "afford it". All redudancy aside, it may placate all of you who have hostility towards those of us that may be protected by this sale: the rules remain the same. We will still get kicked out if the Jim Cook's of this town get the property instead of a wothwhile venture like the YVHA.
Hash_Garret feels that the YVHA should help him with his half-million dollar house. If he bought it last month he should hang on to it until August and get $600K for it. If he bought it 5 or more years ago, he should enjoy the fruits of this town for doing nothing more than buying at the right time. Rest assured, there has only been one way to lose money in Real Estate, in the 'Boat, in the last 10 years. Buy a Mobile Home.
There was an article in this weekend's paper where the lady interviewed let us know that there was still affordable housing in town. She then mentioned that there are condos on the mountain for less than $250K. She immediately pointed out that these were not for families, but for "happily married couples". Mostly because there was only one bedroom and about 500 sq. ft..
This is just the way it is. Many towns have been overrun or just became too popular to live in. Not everyone can stay. And maybe the term "Affordable" should be replaced with "Comfortable". We've had a comfortable living here, on the river, without a $2K mth mortgage + HOAs + utilities +++. Oh yeah, I couldn't afford to be that comfortable in a mountain condo.
And in case you missed the big picture, what this really comes down to is a good couple (the Enevers), selling their property (Fish Creek), to a group (YVHA) whose slogan is "We're in the Community Business". And possibly the YHVA selling the property to the residents. Does this really sound like such a bad idea? What kind of person could possibly be opposed to this? Maybe just the selfish ones. FYI, unlike condos, you have to be approved to live here. I'll even pay the $35 fee to see if you are.

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 3 months ago

To me, affordable means that the median average income can afford it. Don't let that fool you. My wife and I make over the considered median income and couldn't afford the majority of home in our own subdivision.

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spukomy 7 years, 3 months ago

Hash, That is a great success story. Not many have both the skills and motivation to pull that off. Reckon I'm just frustrated with the state of our housing. It's all changed so fast. South Routt here we come. Unless, like in this week's South Park, we can get a bunch of homeless to move here and drive down the market.

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SteamboatJoe 7 years, 3 months ago

It's a blight on the community. I'd be more sympathetic if the "owners" would take care of their property but it's a dump.

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jeannie berger 7 years, 3 months ago

Here is where you are all wet buddy, I live in a trailer park and I take care of the lot surrounding my home. It is neat and tidy and my home is in good repair. It is the people that own the park where I rent my lot that don't take care of the property. They have rules that they don't enforce.
As far as the fish creek railer park it is always neat and tidy and the Enevers have always enforced the rules. Do you think because I live in a mobile home that I am less deserving than you are. How snobbish of you Mr. Garret and SteamboatJoe

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