Rob Dick remembered as tireless advocate for affordable housing
Steamboat Springs — From the River Place co-housing community near the city’s southern edge to the West End Village subdivision, Rob Dick’s impact on housing reaches across Steamboat Springs.
Dick, a prolific real estate developer and affordable housing advocate, died Aug. 13 in Denver following a 10-month battle with cancer.
Some of Dick’s most impactful work was done during his four-year tenure as executive director of the Regional Affordable Living Foundation, a successful nonprofit that later morphed into the Yampa Valley Housing Authority.
It was in that role that Dick oversaw the purchase and development of a property that became the West End Village subdivision.
“Rob is probably best known for his foresight in acquiring the West End Village property,” said Steamboat Springs City Councilwoman Kathi Meyer, who was part of the hiring committee that selected Dick to lead RALF in the late 1990s. “West End was an old gravel pit, and no one wanted to put housing up there, and today, we have over 100 households that live up there.”
Also under Dick’s leadership, RALF acquired and renovated the Hillside Village Apartments, the only income-restricted affordable rental housing in place in Steamboat today.
Dick also served as an advocate for mobile home owners facing displacement in two downtown mobile home parks around 2000.
Through RALF, he helped the 17 trailer owners at the Hilltop Trailer Park on Maple Street purchase their own land. RALF also purchased additional land on U.S. Highway 40 near the Routt County Sheriff’s Department as a place for mobile home owners displaced when the Trailer Haven park on Third Street was purchased the same year.
“He loved a challenge,” said Karen Beauvais, who served as RALF’s board president during Dick’s time as executive director. “He just went after it.”
While Beauvais, a broker with Coldwell Banker, believes the city is currently in need of more affordable housing, she dismissed the notion that none exists, pointing to the work of RALF.
“There is affordable housing,” Beauvais said. “You just need to know where to find it.”
After resigning from RALF in 2003, Dick pursued numerous other developments in the private sector, including the co-housing communities of Butcherknife, off East Maple Drive, and River Place, on Dougherty Road at Steamboat’s southern border.
Some of Dick’s earliest projects included the completion of the Meadows at Eagle Ridge and the Terraces at Eagle Ridge, condominiums projects that were abandoned half-complete by earlier developers.
“With Rob’s extensive experience with development banking, he always found the best financing mechanism to allow a project to move forward from concept to reality,” said Jon Peddie, who partnered with Dick on both Eagle Ridge projects and with Dick and builder Michael Roberts on the construction of the Tamarack Point subdivision, a 29-home green-built neighborhood off Tamarack Drive.
Peddie said that, while Dick ensured projects made economic sense, he also paid attention to the “social good” of a development.
“He was a great advocate for affordable housing and community development and will be sorely missed,” Peddie said. “He was one of the good guys.”
Dick’s support of affordable housing projects was captured in his own words in a 2003 article published in Steamboat Today.
“Affordable housing is something that is just as important as schools, roadways, sewers and any other public service,” Dick said. “There are a significant number of people that don’t believe that.”
Apart from his involvement in housing development, Dick was active in the community in other ways, as well, serving on the boards of Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School & Camp and The Lowell Whiteman School, helping finance the construction of the now-Steamboat Mountain School’s current campus.
He also served on the board of Colorado Mountain College.
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