Eagle-Vail’s Riverview mold infestation tackled
EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado – Eagle County will spend up to $700,000 to get rid of mold in Riverview.
But it’s not your money, exactly.
Riverview is the county’s only federally subsidized low income housing complex, and it’s in the process of a $17 million renovation.
As that renovation got under way, mold became more and more evident, and county officials decided to deal with it, instead of ignoring it.
So, the county is paying a local company, Alliance Restoration, almost $700,000 to deal with mold found in all five Riverview buildings and 72 apartments.
Alliance Restoration will be paid immediately, said Jill Klosterman, Eagle County’s new housing director. The money to cover that cost will show up in October.
Riverview will have to borrow the $700,000 from the county’s general fund. That’s the checkbook the county uses to conducts its day-to-day business.
That loan runs through the end of October and Riverview will pay 3 percent interest.
It runs through October because that’s when Riverview and the county’s housing department is expecting a $2.5 million payment from Alliant Capital, Klosterman said.
Alliant is an investment company and bought $3.8 million in federal income tax credits to help finance the Riverview renovation. In this case, Alliant’s federal income tax credits allow Alliant to pay that $3.8 million to Riverview, instead of paying $3.8 million to the federal government in income taxes.
That money, and much more from other sources including federal loans and grants, is paying for the $17 million Riverview renovation.
OK, here’s what you need to know.
There was lots of mold in Riverview. Now there’s not.
Eagle County could have gotten away with doing nothing about it, but chose to deal with it instead.
“We chose not to ignore it. We wanted to make sure we did the best we could while the tenants were out,” Klosterman said.
Tenants started moving back into the first available Riverview building Dec. 10. They were followed a week later by tenants headed home to the second building.
Those tenants had been living in River Edge and the Tarnes. That cost between $300 and $500 per family, according to the project’s budget numbers.
Mold comes from moisture, of course, and the ventilation system in the five Riverview buildings has never functioned properly, Klosterman said.
Years ago, the county was awarded a federal grant to fix the problem, but when the contractor was finished the system still didn’t work properly. A financial settlement from that contractor was used to fund other Riverview repairs.
Now that they have all five buildings cracked open, it’s time to fix it once and for all, Klosterman said.
There is no more mold and there are lots of new ventilation fans that function as they should. They’ll come on every half hour or so, and they’re quiet and energy efficient, Klosterman said.
“We’re remediating all the units,” Klosterman said. “We want this property to last another 40 years.”
Before the renovation, if Riverview had been a rock star it would have been Keith Richards’ less careful older brother.
The county bought Riverview from local developer Fred Green in 1999 for $5.7 million. Green built the project in the 1970s and his tax breaks were about to expire. He was shopping it around as a private-market condo complex when the county bought it. The county immediately spent $1.3 million in maintenance.
The Eagle Riverview Affordable Housing Corporation was set up in 1999 to acquire the property and to funnel money from federal grants and other sources to Riverview.
As part of the renovation financial package, in 2025 Riverview reverts back to the county for the amount of debt left on the property.
Because rents are controlled at Riverview, tenants only pay 30 percent of their stated income in rent.
The federal government subsidizes the difference between that 30 percent and the market rate for each apartment, $1,250 for a two-bedroom and $1,510 for a three bedroom.
Low income in Eagle County is $64,000 for a four-person household, according to the county’s area median income statistics with Housing and Urban Development, the federal agency that handles Riverview.
In Eagle County, the area median income for a four-person household is $86,600, according to those HUD statistics.
For a little perspective, $20 an hour is $40,000 a year.
Up to nine people can live in a three-bedroom apartment, according to Debra Pompey with the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority.
Families also get a break of $480 per child on their rent, said Pompey.
Seniors get subsidies for their medical expenses. Families in which all adults work get rent deductions for childcare expenses.
While there are no upper income limits to qualify to live in Riverview, rents are calculated on a sliding scale – the higher your income the higher the percentage you are required to pay, said Pompey.