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New landlord for Eagle seniors

Veronica Whitney

“The county has always come through in everything it has promised,” says Reed, who for five years has been renting an apartment at the complex in Eagle.

Affordable rents and quality management are what county officials are promising 36 senior residents at the Golden Eagle apartments. After months of negotiations, the county acting with the Golden Eagle Elderly Housing Corp., paid $1.6 million to former Golden Eagle owner and manager Eagle Manor Ltd. Partnership for the 36-apartment complex.

“One of the primary issues the seniors had before the purchase was confidence, and that is what the commissioners want to bring to them,” said Becky Gadell, assistant administrator for Eagle County.

Reed says says she used to worry that if the county didn’t buy the apartment complex the price of rent would go up.

“But the county promised us not to raise the rents,” she says.

Rent at Golden Eagle costs about $350 a month for one-bedroom apartment.

Now, the county will manage the complex, meaning the rents will stay affordable, says Eagle County Commissioner Tom Stone, who serves as president of the Golden Eagle Elderly Housing Corp., a nonprofit organization managed by Eagle County to support affordable senior housing. In addition to Stone, the housing corporation board includes fellow commissioners Michael Gallagher and Arn Menconi, as well as Kathleen Forinash, director of health and human services, and Katie Harper, senior coordinator.

“Rents will not go down, but we will keep them affordable,” Gadell says.

“Seniors know that the policy is to keep prices as low as we can.”

Residents at the complex also expect an improvement in services and maintenance, says former Commissioner Johnnette Phillips, who was recently appointed to the Golden Eagle Elderly Housing Corp. and will serve as corporation secretary.

“One entity will handle services, maintenance and operations, and this gives the seniors a feeling of belonging under one umbrella,” Phillips says.

Gadell says the county is also committed to keeping the place in good condition.

“We will ensure there’s quality management,” she says.

Although the facilities manager for the complex will be the same, he now will work under Rich Cunningham, the county’s facilities management director.

“I’m an advocate for affordable housing this helps our seniors, who are on fixed incomes,” says Menconi. “It also adds to the continuum of housing that we are providing to the citizens.”

Funding for the $1.6 million purchase combined a $1 million loan with $258,000 from Eagle County and a $310,000 grant from the state. Twenty-five units at Golden Eagle Apartments carry an ongoing subsidy by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program. The complex was built in 1987 with financial assistance from the program. Eagle County provided the land at below-market price.

“I look forward to having a relationship with the seniors and to work on providing more space for them in the future,” says Gallagher.

In addition to the purchase of the Golden Eagle complex, Gallagher says the county is exploring ways to build an assisted-living facility.

“The county explored the idea, but we will probably won’t be able to do it alone,” he says. “However, we might partner with Vail Valley Medical Center.”

Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or at vwhitney@vaildaily.com.


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