Yampa Valley Housing Authority’s offer to buy Whitehaven Mobile Home Park accepted

After almost three months of uncertainty, the roughly 70 residents at Whitehaven Mobile Home Park can put their fears to rest.

The Yampa Valley Housing Authority’s $3.125 million offer to buy the mobile home park on behalf of Whitehaven residents was accepted, according to a press release on Tuesday, Oct. 25. The closing on the property is set for Nov. 30. 

In August, the residents at Whitehaven were informed that a $3.125 million offer on the lot had been accepted by an unknown buyer, and because of the Colorado Mobile Home Park Act, the residents had 90 days (changed to 120 days after an amendment in October) to match that offer or risk the uncertainties that come with a new lot owner: higher lot fees, redevelopment and displacement.

“I don’t know what else I can say,” said Jake Dombrowski, a Whitehaven resident who has acted as a liaison between the park’s residents and the housing authority. “I’m just so thankful for this community and those donors that gave so much money. It really enabled us to do this with the housing authority.”

The purchase of the park was helped by two large anonymous donations to the housing authority totaling $750,000. Those donations paved the way for the housing authority to obtain financing for the remainder of the $3.125 million offer.

The YVHA plans to own the park as interim stewards and eventually transfer ownership to the residents of Whitehaven to form a resident-owned community. 

Most of the residents at Whitehaven already own their homes but not the land underneath, so they pay lot fees. Eventually, the residents at Whitehaven will take over the loan balance and assume official ownership of the Whitehaven property. 

“Once it’s a resident-owned community, the lot rent that they pay will be primarily utilized to pay off the debt,” said Jason Peasley, the executive director of the YVHA. “So, they’re building equity as opposed to just paying some landlord.”

Get the top stories in your inbox every morning. Sign up here:

Peasley said the housing authority will be doing its typical due diligence. He knows there’s extensive work to be done on Whitehaven’s infrastructure, such as connecting the park to the city’s water, but feels confident there won’t be any unexpected “skeletons in the closet” that would convince the YVHA to back out of the purchase.

“I’m not expecting there to be something that would blow up this deal,” Peasley said. “But we also need to go into it with eyes wide open.”

Peasley was eager to share credit with Integrated Community, who reached out to the Housing Authority while helping translate the notices of sale for the park’s residents who use English as a second language. 

He also gave credit to the Yampa Valley Community Foundation for establishing the fund that yielded those large donations. 

“We all were on the same page immediately doing the things that we can do to help,” Peasley said. “So it was just a great team effort.”

The Routt County Workforce Housing Preservation Fund will remain open to donations, and Peasley hopes donated funds can go toward similar acquisitions in the future. He believes other mobile home parks in Routt County can become resident-owned but for less money if negotiations begin before a competing offer is presented.

“When people donate to (the fund), it creates that guaranteed resource we can utilize to be more proactive than dealing with a pending sale and having to mobilize in the scope of 90 or 120 days,” Peasley said. 

Dombrowski said he’s excited to get back to work on some home improvement projects that he put off while waiting to see how things shake out. He’s also excited about the coming winter, now that he feels sure he’ll be here to enjoy it. 

“I got the board and snowmobiles ready,” Dombrowski said. 

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.