Eagle County: Fix for affordable apts. | VailDaily.com

Eagle County: Fix for affordable apts.

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado ” Eagle County’s only low-income, federal housing project will be improved extensively, but that mean anything from a major facelift to a high-density expansion.

The Riverview apartments on U.S. Highway 6 are Section 8 Housing and Urban Development property, meaning they are subsidized by the federal government.

The 72-unit, low-income rentals are in poor condition, and a remodel of the rentals could be a chance to expand the complex, said Alex Potente, managing director for Eagle County’s Housing and Development Department.

Residents apply for the housing based on income. Qualifying for a home also depends on job status, family size and legal status, said Riverview Property Manager Nick Barbarella.

After that, the homes are on a first-come, first-served basis, and the waiting list is about a year, he said.

County officials said there are no definite plans for the Riverview improvements, and that they are still investigating their options.

However, possibilities the county is considering include an expansion that would nearly double the number of units and add underground parking, scrapping and rebuilding the complex with some additional units, or a more modest remodeling of the exterior.

“We’d like to have some density, but it really depends on other factors, such as the financials, and what the community is willing to accept,” Potente said.

Commissioner Peter Runyon, who is also on the Riverview board of directors, said the county is still looking for community feedback on the project. He also added he did not favor the highest density option.

Any improvements will also include better amenities, such as more green spaces, better access to the river, and a possible community and child-care center, modeled after Miller Ranch in Edwards, Potente said.

“The goal is to improve the quality of housing for the people who live there, and if possible, to add some for-sale or for-rent units,” he said.

Any improvements to the apartments would be paid for largely through federal tax credits. Any money the county pitches in would probably come from the sale of Lake Creek, an affordable housing neighborhood the county is in the process of selling.

The county will get public input from a community group made up of nearby residents, developers, bankers and other community members, Runyon said.

“Right now the emphasis is on the local community, because the bottom line is that it’s going to be in their backyard,” he said.

Staff writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.

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