Willard B. Marshall Jr.: Dreams vanished? | SteamboatToday.com

Willard B. Marshall Jr.: Dreams vanished?

A developer will attempt and probably succeed in his scheme to disrupt the lives of 39 Steamboat Springs families.

These families live in Westland Trailer Park.

They work at their jobs, pay their taxes and buy their food in local stores. They do the same things every other Steamboat family does. Some of them have children in school, others don’t.

Most feel considerable pride that they have been able to work hard and invest in modest homes for themselves — a mobile home. This is the only truly affordable housing available to many residents of Steamboat.

Most of them had hopes that they could work their way upward to better houses as the years went by. They had hopes that their mobile-home investments would become down payments on better homes.

Now, a developer has told each of these families that their homes will be gone in a matter of months — most of them crushed and destroyed.

These families’ hopes for the future are gone so that this developer can put up some fancy townhomes that will be priced higher than they can afford. The developer has more important dreams for this land than the dreams of the 39 families. His dreams cost more money, so they will prevail.

Some of the 39 families are having a hard time finding enough work to pay the lot rent, buy food and pay the utility bills. Yet, they keep trying to make ends meet.

There is one nice thing about mobile homes: It is a little bit cheaper to live in one than to live in other housing. In Steamboat, we all pay premium prices because the developers have had a free hand in raising the cost of living here.

In one instance, at the Hilltop Trailer Court above the high school, the Harms family made it possible for those mobile-home owners to purchase their individual lots. The Regional Affordable Living Foundation and the banks and Realtors all helped to set up the transfer so that those families could continue to live in their homes. The city helped cut the red tape to make it happen.

It is really sad that such a community effort could not happen for the people in Westland. It isn’t going to happen, not in their lifetimes.

This developer has his mind set on putting up more townhomes very much like the ones already built that sit empty for most of the year. This developer does not live in a mobile home to save a little bit of money. He does not eat Ramen noodles with spaghetti sauce on top. He doesn’t have to worry about finding enough work to pay the lot rent.

No, this developer has fancy offices and a whole staff of the very best Realtors working for him. It really won’t make very much difference in his life when Westland is torn down, trailer by trailer. His lifestyle is secure.

Some of these displaced families, however, will have to leave Steamboat because they won’t be able to afford the cost of living here.

Believe it or not, there were situations like this, not so long ago, when the good guys won out and the bad guys were carried out of town on a rail, covered with tar and feathers. Those were the good old days.

Willard B. Marshall Jr.

Steamboat Springs

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