School board eyeing housing in Minturn’s Maloit Park, puts out invitations for development partners | VailDaily.com

School board eyeing housing in Minturn’s Maloit Park, puts out invitations for development partners

EAGLE — Workforce housing will not build itself, and with that in mind the school board is taking a big swing at the issue.

The school board is looking for development partners to build workforce housing on land it owns in Maloit Park near Minturn. The board's official Request for Qualifications was posted on the school district website.

"We have been talking about the possibility of housing in Maloit Park for parts of the last 20 years. With this and our partnership with Habitat for Humanity, we're doing what we can to help with housing," said Kate Cocchiarella, school board president.

The Maloit Park project would house school district employees, as well as employees from local businesses, according to the Request for Qualifications package.

"In many respects, ECS shares the same housing challenges as do all other employees within Eagle County," the school board states in its proposal.

For now, the school board says it is not looking for definitive proposals.

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"Rather, Eagle County Schools is interested in starting a conversation with firms interested in and capable of creating a vibrant, livable community of workforce homes at Maloit Park," the school board's proposal states.

Already working on housing

The school district is partnering with the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate to build townhomes on land the district owns in Gypsum.

However, the Maloit Park proposal is much more ambitious. Exactly how ambitions remains to be seen. The Request for Qualifications is a first step, Cocciarella said.

"There's no denying we have an affordable housing crisis in the valley. We wanted to begin to move forward step by step," Cocchiarella said.

Maloit Park is already a fairly busy place. It's home to the Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy and it's the temporary home of Vail's Red Sandstone Elementary School students while that building is being rebuilt.

It's also home to Nordic skiing trails, hiking trails, open space, wetlands and some current school district workforce housing.

"We must be respectful of everyone already there, and the people who use the area for recreation," Cocchiarella said.

About Maloit Park

Maloit Park is 85 acres, most of which is relatively flat. Of that, 39.5 acres are zoned recreation/open space. That includes the Cross Creek corridor, wetlands and riparian areas, and more steeply sloping terrain at the south end of the site.

Nearby are 46.8 acres zoned mixed use. The workforce housing project will be located in that mixed-use area, the school board's proposal says.

The Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy and the Minturn Fitness Center are already in that mixed-use area.

Maloit Park was annexed into Minturn in 2011. The annexation agreement between the town and the school district allows for up to 137 housing units.

"We would like to move ahead in a timely manner. The housing crisis is only getting worse," Cocchiarella said.

It's probably at least two years from anything being available, Cocchiarella said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.