Two Rivers gets thumbs up |

Two Rivers gets thumbs up

Special to the Daily/Eagle CountyThe Two Rivers project in Dotsero will be built between the confluence of the Eagle and Colorado rivers and Interstate 70 at the Dotsero interchange.

Tuesday’s approval closed 20 years of negotiations and battles.

“It’s been a major hump,” grinned Kriz, a huge victory cigar clenched in his teeth. “Building this thing will be a piece of cake.”

Before the three commissioners would give the project their thumbs up, Kriz, Stephens and company had to agreed to a deal with the county and the Eagle County School District to be hold onto 4.5 acres until the school district needs it.

Stephens, owner and operator of Stephens Nursery in Dotsero, has owned the land for decades. Kriz, a lifetime businessman who owns mobile home communities in Glenwood Springs, among them Mountain Mobile Home Park, took over developing Two Rivers in 1999.

Kriz said he had originally planned to bring along a couple of development partners, but their visions for the project did not match his. Kriz has said all along that Two Rivers Village will remain an affordable-housing project.

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“I’ve always had a soft spot for blue-collar workers,” he said. “It’s how I made mine. You can’t do anything without them, and I don’t think enough attention is being paid to looking after them.”

The site where Two Rivers will be built was originally a tree farm that provided landscaping materials for the massive I-70 expansion through Glenwood Canyon. The site also provided much of the gravel for the highway construction project, which created the lakes that now grace the property.

Stephens proposed an RV park for the parcel in 1982, securing preliminary approvals by 1985, but the plan fizzled – along with Colorado’s economy of that time.

When the project shifted to manufactured housing, the Federal Emergency Management Administration entered the fray because the area is in a 100-year floodplain. Eventually, FEMA issued a preliminary permit allowing the project to be built there, but only if the entire site was raised out of the floodplain by piling enough dirt on it to raise it by as much as 9 feet in some areas.

A long series of contentious hearings followed. Original investor Gerald Gallegos even charged the county staff with racism for what he saw as attempts to stop the project because Hispanics would be part of the Two Rivers community.

Kriz said he kept in touch with the original Two Rivers partners, hoping to strike a deal to become the project’s manufactured housing dealer.

He is a dealer for Magnolia Manufactured Housing in Scotts Bluff, Neb.

Kriz and his brother launched Mountain Mobile Mix in Summit County with $13,000 in cash and a $34,000 loan during the early ’60s. By 1967 they were hauling concrete back and fourth across Vail pass to the fledgling Vail ski area.

In 1967 they opened a concrete plant in Vail, followed two years later by another at what is now Vail’s Potato Patch. Another followed in 1974 in Minturn and yet another with the Nottingham pit in Avon in 1979.

By the time they sold out to Western Mobile in 1982, Kriz had nine plants in six counties with 246 employees and 125 trucks.

In 1990, he launched Mountain Mobile Home Park in Glenwood Springs.

Two Rivers at Dotsero:

– 273 lots for single-family, manufactured homes.

– 160 multi-family units.

– 20,000 square feet of commercial space.

– A parcel for a church.

– A sewage treatment plant.

– Five single-family lots.

– A 4.5-acre school site.

– A 0.6-acre storage site

– Two open space parcels totaling 43.7 acres.

– A 1.1-acre fire district site

– Parks and a swimming pool.

For more information, call 328-6258.

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