Affordable housing finds downvalley home
BASALT Jen Carr started a unique project last fall as an environmentalist and became a humanitarian as well.Carr and her husband Rich bought a modest, ranch-style house at 1285 Mountain View Drive in Aspen last year and decided it made sense to redevelop the property. Carr said she didn’t want to simply scrape the 40-year-old house and haul it to the dump.”That whole idea made me not feel good about the waste,” she said.So she launched a plan that she said earned her the label of “lunatic” among her friends and family. Her goal was to recycle 100 percent of the house.The first task was finding a home for the bulk of the structure. She offered to give the house to Habitat for Humanity’s Roaring Fork Valley chapter. Chapter president Scott Gilbert said he was skeptical of the offer at first. Donations of structures sound good, but they are often too trashed to make it worth the effort. He was pleasantly surprised to see the Carrs’ residence in such good shape.Habitat accepted the house, which Gilbert estimated at 1,500 square feet, then started looking for land. The nonprofit wanted to use the house to fulfill its mission to provide adequate housing for the needy.
Habitat didn’t find land, but it did make a connection with Warren Rider. After reading about the house that needed a home in The Aspen Times, Rider contacted both the Carrs and Habitat officials and made a pitch to acquire the structure. He needed a house to replace his dilapidated trailer at Lazy Glen Mobile Home Park, about three miles east of Basalt.Carr said she got to know Rider and felt he was the perfect recipient for the home. Gilbert agreed.Habitat will sell Rider the house at a price yet to be determined. Gilbert said the organization hopes to clear $10,000 to $20,000 from the sale, after moving expenses.The house will be moved from Aspen to Lazy Glen beginning in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Traffic will be stopped on Highway 82 for an estimated five minutes while the wide load crosses the Maroon Creek Bridge. Bill Bailey of Grand Junction, an experienced house mover, was hired to haul it.
The house is ready to roll, elevated on a platform and wheels, in its neighborhood off Cemetery Lane.Moving the bulk of the ranch-style house was only half the battle for Carr. She also wanted to salvage and recycle materials from additions that cannot be moved with the main house. She spent weeks tearing building materials down, removing nails and prepping items such as doors, window frames and plywood for use again.”It was a labor of love,” Carr said. “I was out there for days whacking away at stuff.”All told, she estimated she spent the equivalent of a month of full-time labor on the job. The effort was worth it, she said, because roughly 90 percent of the house was recycled. She considered it a gift to her children, ages 9 and 6, as an environmental good deed. Even more rewarding, she said, was the humanitarian effort of getting a good home in Rider’s hands and raising funds for Habitat for Humanity. The contribution gives the Carrs a tax deduction as well.Gilbert said two other homeowners have offered to donate structures to Habitat for Humanity. Officials are waiting to see how this deal shakes out before they decided how to proceed.Carr was ecstatic over the her efforts, despite the initial skepticism.
“My husband thought it was the craziest idea he had ever heard,” she said. “I guess I proved him wrong.”Scott Condon’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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