Steamboat Springs The Yampa Valley Housing Authority has closed on its $3.2 million purchase of the Fish Creek Mobile Home Park.
Mary Alice Page-Allen, president of the Housing Authority's board, announced the finalized purchase at Monday's joint meeting of the Steamboat Springs City Council and the Routt County Board of Commissioners. The City Council agreed last month to loan the Housing Authority $954,000, at a zero-interest rate for the first five years, to help fund the purchase.
"I need to say thank you to the city because this whole purchase wouldn't have taken place without their participation," Page-Allen said.
Housing Authority officials said current residents of Fish Creek Mobile Home Park will be given an opportunity to become landowners as a result of Monday's purchase. Mobile home owners usually do not own the land beneath their homes, and often lose their plots when mobile home parks are sold.
"We have an obligation under our contract with the city to work with homeowners to see if they want to convert these to ownership units," Page-Allen said.
Even if park residents decide not to convert to ownership units, they will not be asked to leave, Page-Allen said. In a letter from Page-Allen last month, park residents were told that the Housing Authority "will work with homeowners to develop a plan for the future of the park" and "that nobody will be forced to buy their lot or be evicted."
"Nobody's going to lose their home in any conversion process," Page-Allen said. "It's important to preserve affordable housing, which is why we wanted to purchase the park and work toward that."
The city's loan comes from funds designated for affordable housing as part of an agreement involving the loss of Westland Mobile Home Park, a Fifth Street neighborhood that was demolished in September 2006 to make way for Riverwalk, a multi-building, mixed-use development along the Yampa River.
Page-Allen has previously said the Housing Authority plans to finance $2.58 million through Wells Fargo Bank for the Fish Creek purchase. The purchase includes an additional cost of $550,000 to upgrade safety features at the railroad crossing into the park, raising the total price to $3.75 million.
Curtis Church, interim executive director of the Housing Authority, said it is not clear yet exactly what steps the Housing Authority will take with the mobile home park.
"Today, we don't know how that's going to play out, except that we're going to start the discussions," Church said.
The Housing Authority purchased Fish Creek Mobile Home Park from Bob and Audrey Enever, who owned the site for 32 years. In a letter to park residents announcing the sale, the Enevers said Tom Palmer will continue as resident manager of the park.
Page-Allen also discussed the Housing Authority's efforts to hire an executive director at Monday's luncheon. Elizabeth Black resigned from the post in June.
After interviewing three candidates, Page-Allen said the selection committee has decided to reassess the hiring process.
"Our initial attempts to find an executive director led us to believe we need to broaden our efforts in that regard," Page-Allen said. "If you look at the job description, it is a very broad set of skills:It is going to be difficult to find someone."
Page-Allen said the Housing Authority may revisit the job description, reorganize staff, hire a recruiter, expand their search or take other steps to find an executive director soon.
"I don't think there's anything that's off the table," Page-Allen said.
The luncheon also included discussion of a green-building program explored jointly by city and county staff, a traffic study addressing access to U.S. Highway 40 west of downtown and water quality measuring.