Nonprofit signs contract to buy Basalt trailer park |

Nonprofit signs contract to buy Basalt trailer park

Scott CondonThe Aspen TimesAspen CO Colorado
Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

BASALT – The effort to convert one of the trailer parks in the middle of Basalt into a nonprofit campus and open space moved a step closer to reality this week.The Pan & Fork Mobile Home Park was placed under contract for purchase by Roaring Fork Community Development Corp. (RFCDC), according to Michael McVoy, president of the corporation. The purchase is scheduled to occur in “early summer,” he said.RFCDC is a nonprofit organization supported by the Manaus Fund, an organization founded by Woody Creek philanthropist George Stranahan.The 38-unit mobile home park is owned by RNR Ltd, whose principal is Basalt resident Renee Ritchie. Her attorney, Jody Edwards of Aspen, confirmed the property was placed under contract.”We’re excited. I think it’s a great opportunity for the community,” Edwards said.The sale price wasn’t disclosed. McVoy said in December the deal was for roughly $3 million. The Eagle County Assessor’s office assigned an actual value to the property of $2,258,020 for 2010. The actual value often varies from market value, one way or another.RFCDC has an agreement to sell the half of the trailer park closest to the Roaring Fork River to the town of Basalt immediately after closing the deal with Ritchie, McVoy said.The town government would use an estimated $1.2 million from its open space to buy 2.5 acres and convert it into a park, Town Manager Bill Kane said Thursday. RFCDC would provide affordable office space for nonprofit organizations and develop some commercial property on the half of the property closest to Two River Roads.The Pan & Fork is sandwiched between the Roaring Fork River and Two Rivers Road, just west of town hall and east of the Taqueria el Nopal restaurant. Town studies have identified the half of the 5-acre parcel closest to the river as being threatened by flooding. The town has sought in vain for nearly a decade to come up with a way to relocate the trailer park residents.The town government and RFCDC are working together on a plan to relocate the families and individuals in the 38 trailers to rental and for-sale replacement housing, but no plan is in place yet, Kane said.The proposed purchase helps accomplish numerous town goals, according to Kane. First, it removes the residents from the floodway, the area most susceptible to a major flood. Second, it removes the residents in a socially-responsible way. Third, it helps make the downtown core more economical sustainable by developing the campus for nonprofits. Fourth, it would allow environmental restoration by removing a levee from the river and converting the at-risk portion of the property to open space.”We’re killing three or four birds with one stone here,” Kane said.RFCDC helped develop the Third Street Center in Carbondale, where 33,000 square feet of office space was rented to nonprofit organizations.Kane said a similar feat would bring “life, color and activity to the downtown” of Basalt. “It just gives us more juice for the community.”McVoy said RFCDC must perform the usual due diligence activities, such as an appraisal and environmental assessment. The organizations must also arrange financing for its share of the purchase.”We’re optimistic,” McVoy

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