Basalt approves contract to purchase half of Pan & Fork |

Basalt approves contract to purchase half of Pan & Fork

Scott CondonThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – The Basalt town government has reached an agreement to buy about half of the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park for $1.2 million, contingent on a nonprofit organization’s acquisition of the trailer park in June.The Town Council passed an ordinance at its April 26 meeting authorizing the purchase using open space and trails funds. The trailer park is under contract for purchase by the Roaring Fork Community Development Corp. (RFCDC) from RNR Ltd., a company headed by Basalt resident Renee Ritchie. The sale price hasn’t been disclosed.The transaction is scheduled to be completed June 30, according to Basalt Town Manager Bill Kane. Once completed, there will be a sequential closing between RFCDC and the town, he said.The town will convert 2.95 acres of the 5.25-acre trailer park into open space along the Roaring Fork River. RFCDC will keep the remainder of the property, 2.3 acres, for development of a nonprofit campus as well as a modest amount of commercial development.”We’re pleased. We’re moving ahead on this and the pieces are falling together,” Kane told the Town Council.The Pan and Fork is a 38-unit mobile home park in the heart of Basalt. It is sandwiched between Two Rivers Road and the Roaring Fork River. It is bounded by Midland Avenue on the east and Old Pond Park on the west.Two studies commissioned by the town show a large portion of the trailer park is at risk of catastrophic flooding in case of a 100-year event, so a prime goal of the government is to get residents “out of harm’s way.”The partnership with the RFCDC, supported by philanthropist George Stranahan’s Manaus Fund, presents the best opportunity converting the property, Kane said.Currently, 36 of the 38 trailer pads are occupied, Kane said. There are 18 trailers on the land Basalt intends to buy and 18 on the land RFCDC will keep. The two buyers are working together to provide replacement housing for the residents. The goal will be to relocate the residents to other housing within the midvalley. That will likely be at least 18 months after the sale goes through, so not until the end of 2012 at the earliest, according to Kane. Until then, residents can remain in their trailers, he said.Town regulations require the replacement of displaced housing on a one-to-one ratio. “We’ll meet the 100 percent [replacement], that’s not the daunting side,” Kane said. The code merely requires replacement units; it doesn’t require housing specifically for the displaced residents. RFCDC and the town want to go beyond the code requirements and actually find replacement housing specifically for the trailer park residents.They hired consultants to conduct personal surveys with households to learn about their interest in replacement housing and their ability to pay.”I think the goal is to do the best we possibly can,” Kane said.About 10 Latino residents of the mobile home park attended the April 26 council meeting to learn more about the direction the town government is taking. Only one person spoke at the public hearing, expressing a preference to working with one consultant rather than another. RFCDC President Michael McVoy and the council said residents could work with whichever consultant they preferred.McVoy is negotiating with other landowners to find midvalley sites for replacement housing. Kane said he couldn’t release further details because of the sensitive nature of the negotiations.Once the sale goes through, the town plans to contract with the Garfield County Housing Authority to run the trailer park. Rent will be collected, Kane said, but will be placed in a relocation

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