Our View: City, Yampa Valley Housing Authority partnership a win | SteamboatToday.com

Our View: City, Yampa Valley Housing Authority partnership a win

At issue

The city of Steamboat Springs and the Yampa Valley Housing Authority are collaborating on a sewer and water line project to serve the Fish Creek Mobile Home Park.

Our view

The collaboration provides economy of scale and shores up existing workforce housing.

— It won’t come as a surprise that we view collaboration between government agencies as a common-sense approach to tackling projects when possible. There are cost efficiencies that can be realized in shared projects, which saves taxpayers money and demonstrates good government planning.

That’s why we think the recent news that the city of Steamboat Springs and the Yampa Valley Housing Authority are partnering on a sewer and water line project to serve the Fish Creek Mobile Home Park is a plus for the community. When completed, the project will replace all the water and sewer lines that serve the park’s 67 mobile homes, preserving a neighborhood that provides the community with attainable workforce housing, which is at a premium right now.

Combining the city’s sewer interceptor project with planned water and sewer line replacement at the mobile home park creates an economy of scale, according to Kathi Meyer, chairwoman of the YVHA board. The successful bidder will be able to come in and stage the project once, doing all the excavation and groundwork for the two infrastructure projects simultaneously, thus minimizing the disruptions to homeowners.

It just makes sense to sync the timing of the two projects, and we imagine it took a lot of behind-the-scenes effort to merge the two projects, which involve input and direction from multiple city departments and two separate government entities.

The history behind the YVHA’s purchase of the Fish Creek Mobile Home Park reveals more cooperation between the city and the local housing authority. In 2007, the city loaned the YVHA $954,000 to help with its bid to buy the park. Additionally, the YVHA took out a $2.58 million bank loan to complete the purchase.

At the time the property was bought, infrastructure improvements were already needed to shore up an aging system that required frequent repairs. Until now, the Housing Authority’s cash flow, which would have paid for those improvements, has been tied up with debt service.

The board refinanced its loan at a lower interest rate, freeing up the needed revenue stream to leverage a loan through the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority to fund the water and sewer line work at the mobile home park — another smart move by the local housing authority.

We have written in past editorials that it’s more difficult to create new workforce housing from scratch than it is to upgrade and secure existing housing. This collaboration between and city and YVHA will add to the life span of 67 mobile homes in Steamboat for another 50 years or so, according to Meyer, and we think that’s a worthy project.

We commend the hard work done by YVHA to better leverage their debt to free up money for the project, and we applaud the city’s willingness to join forces with the local housing authority to coordinate the two projects and bid them as one. It’s definitely a big win for both entities, and we’re glad to see Fish Creek Mobile Home Park receive the infrastructure improvements it has needed to ensure its future.

Workforce housing will be an ongoing issue for the Steamboat Springs community, and obviously, there’s more work to be done. But this recent collaboration between the city and local housing authority is a big win. It protects existing workforce housing in a time when community and business leaders are beginning to work to find creative solutions for additional housing options.

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