Time’s up for Woody Creek trailer owners | AspenTimes.com

Time’s up for Woody Creek trailer owners

John Colson
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado

WOODY CREEK ” Some residents of the Woody Creek Trailer Park have until July 1 of this year to buy the lots where their trailers sit, or possibly face expulsion from the park.

At least that’s the story told by the head of the park’s nonprofit homeowners association, Lanny Curtis, in a report to the Woody Creek Caucus.

The association has owned the park since October 2005, when it took out an initial $1.85 million loan to buy it from Pitkin County, which had purchased the park from former owner Mary Jane Underwood.

The park was subdivided into 58 lots, some of them newly created on a formerly vacant lot at the upper end of the park, and, so far, 38 of those lots have been bought by the people who have been living on them.

The average sale price, Curtis said, is $85,000, which covers each homeowner’s share of the initial cost of the park as well as improvements since the purchase.

But Curtis reported that 20 lots have yet to be sold, and he said the proceeds from the sale of those lots is needed to pay off the purchase loan as well as a $2.8 million loan the association obtained to pay for a variety of infrastructure improvements. Those improvements include new water and sewer lines, a water storage tank, and new utilities (gas, electric and phone), all of which has been buried underground.

“We have to sell all the lots in order to pay for them,” Curtis told the caucus members, meeting in the Woody Creek Community Center on Thursday night. “Rentals do not cut it.”

He explained that the occupants are paying only $650 a month in rent for their homes, which does not go far in paying off the loans.

He said a notice has been issued to the tardy trailer owners, and he has talked with 10 of them.

Some of the lots are in the process of selling to the occupants, he said, but a few residents have not started the purchase process, despite what he said are very easy terms with Community Banks of Colorado.

If the occupants can’t buy them, Curtis said, they might have to be put on the market for sale to other area workers, as required under the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority guidelines.

Pitkin County Commissioner Michael Owsley, who lives in Woody Creek and chaired the caucus meeting, expressed the hope that it can be worked out so that all park residents can buy their homes.

“It would be just awful if there were people evicted from the park,” he said, and Curtis agreed that such an outcome is not the one anyone cares for.

Holding out an inkling of hope for the tardy buyers, he said it is possible that the bank would extend the loan if some occupants are unable to make the deal by the deadline, but show they are working on it.