Group buys land under trailer park
About 23 years after the idea was first posed, residents in the Woody Creek trailer park own the land beneath their trailers.The Woody Creek Mobile Homeowners Association closed on its purchase of the eight-acre parcel Thursday afternoon for more than $1.7 million. The seller was the Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority, which has been working on the sale for years. Association President Lanny Curtis said there were handshakes and hugs all around after the final paper was signed.”It’s been a long, frustrating process, and so finally it’s done so we can move forward, get our improvements done and get the lots sold,” Curtis said.The deal means there will soon be 58 new, moderate-income homeowners in Woody Creek, just a few miles from downtown Aspen.The Woody Creek Mobile Home Park is just behind the Woody Creek Tavern and Store along Upper River Road. Currently, residents of the park own their mobile homes but rent the land beneath them in an arrangement that is typical for trailer parks. The next step is for the association to sell the lots beneath the homes to individual residents. Pitkin County has approved the subdivision plans, which turn the park’s 51 lots into 58 lots. Curtis said he hopes the surveying of the land to find out the specific square footage of each lot will be completed early this winter.Eighty-eight percent of the residents of the park (around 100 people, Curtis said) have indicated they want to buy their lots. The average cost of a lot in the park will be $80,000, he said, based on a lot’s square footage.The homeowners association purchased the land with a loan from Community Banks; rental costs of mobile homes – and then eventually the sale of the lots in the park – will pay down the loan.”Hopefully we’ll have everything sold in two years, and the loan paid off,” Curtis said. The association has a separate loan for $2.8 million worth of improvements to the neighborhood, including work on the underground water, sewer, gas and electricity infrastructure, new roads and a new 120,000-gallon water storage tank. This loan will also be paid back through lot sales, Curtis said, and he hopes to have the substantial improvements completed by the end of 2006.Curtis has lived in the mobile home park since 1976 and seen four different owners of the park. He said he has been working on getting homeowners the ability to buy their lots since 1982, when then-owners Woody Creek Associates first offered the park for sale.The Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority purchased the park in 1998 and has spent the past seven years working on a deal to transfer the property to residents.The resale value of the units and their lots has been capped at Category 6 – which gives them a deed restriction of $441,000. Seven of the homes in the park are slated for relocation within the new subdivision.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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