Carbondale's community connector

Town commits to senior housing upgrades

Locations: News Published

Carbondale’s elected leaders signed on the dotted line in their support for local, affordable senior housing this week, formally accepting the task of financial oversight of roughly $1 million in repairs, improvements and upgrades to the buildings and facilities of the Crystal Meadows senior housing complex on Hendrick Drive at the south end of town.

Now all that remains is for the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to award the grant to the Town, which would in turn funnel the money over the coming year to a contractor (or contractors) hired by the management at Crystal Meadows.

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According to the paperwork filed with the town by Crystal Meadows, the grant is to cover a variety of repairs and improvements in all five phases of the Crystal Meadows complex, which was started about three decades ago and has grown steadily since then.

The documents presented to the Carbondale Board of Trustees indicate that the $1 million grant is meant to pay for new roofs, 217 new windows, new boilers and plumbing repairs, and other smaller items such as new carpets, small-scale carpentry jobs and sidewalk repairs, all happening in and around several buildings in the complex.

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The town is to act as the initial recipient if any grant money is awarded by DOLA, money which would come in the form of Community Development Block Grants issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The use of the money is governed by about 20 pages worth of federal, state and local requirements and guidelines.

The project’s work schedule, assuming the grant is awarded, calls for all work to begin in the spring of 2020 and be finished up by the fall of the same year.

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At the trustees’ meeting on Tuesday, grant-writing consultant Malcolm McMichael told the board he is working to finalize the grant application on behalf of Crystal Meadows and submit it to DOLA. He also said that it is expected that the repairs and upgrades to the aging facility will last approximately 20-30 years.

But, he cautioned the trustees, it is the nature of buildings to deteriorate over time, and that “there’s always going to be a need every 20 years or so” to do such repairs and improvements all over again.

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And if anyone doubted that there continues to be strong demand for this kind of housing, McMichael said the wait-list for Crystal Meadows apartments currently stands at 5-6 years.

“This is a great project, kind of a win-win” for the future of the complex and the relatively minor impact the grant-to-implementation process will have on the town’s finances, since it is the town’s role to pay contractors as the work progresses and then be reimbursed by the state on a monthly basis.

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The town’s costs for handling the financial end of the project, he said, “should be relatively modest,” involving some staff time but little else.

In other action, the trustees:

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• Received an update from the Garfield Clean Energy organization, which has been assisting local governments and citizens with energy-efficiency upgrades to buildings and homes for more than a decade and is hoping to benefit from a series of statewide grants to enable it to continue its work;

• Approved special-event liquor licenses for Cowboy Up, a live-music fund-raising event on Aug. 23 at the Fourth Street Plaza; and for the KDNK Hootenanny (now known as The Hoot), a community party scheduled for Aug. 16, also at the Fourth Street Plaza.

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