The grand opening of Alta Vista de la Montaña in North Delta last week culiminated four years of effort to provide safe, decent and affordable rental housing for agricultural workers in the area.
During the grand opening ceremony on Jan. 12, funding partner Jamie Spakow, USDA Rural Development, acknowledged the challenges in finding the right location, the right funding sources and the best development team for the project.
"It was worth the wait," she said, as she addressed the crowd gathered in the facility's community room. A project of the Community Resources & Housing Development Corporation (CRHDC), the new development features three- and four-bedroom apartments appropriate for families. It also includes a conference room, community room, laundry room and outdoor play area. The housing development was designed by Faleide Architects; Shaw Construction was the general contractor.
"Alta Vista de la Montaña will be such an incredible addition to our community," said Mayor Mary Cooper. "Our little city is growing."
Representatives of CRHDC and the various funding partners traveled from the Front Range or the San Luis Valley to be part of the grand opening celebration.
Early in the planning process, Delta was selected by area growers as the most centralized location to serve the housing needs of workers in the area.
"We encountered many bumps and hiccups along the way but stayed the course with the support of all our partners," said Al Gold, CHRDC executive director. The end result is a quality built, energy efficient development that incorporates solar and green construction features that reduce energy consumption and utility costs for the residents.
Financing was made possible through a private-public partnership which made history, Gold said. Alta Vista de la Montaña was the first development in the country where USDA Rural Development approved the use of loan and grant funds in tandem with low-income housing tax credits. Other non-profit organizations are already replicating the concept to complete affordable housing projects across the country.
Gold briefly referred to the "bickerous and challenging work" which had taken place since the farmworker housing project was first proposed for a parcel near Delta High School. When a second site on H Road was rejected by the city's planning and zoning commission, then the city council, CRHDC filed a discrimination complaint against the city. CRHDC ultimately found property within the city that did not require rezoning and was able to circumvent the planning process which had proven contentious.
Gold also recognized the efforts of a Colorado woman who has helped integrate Burmese refugees into the community. Several families have found agricultural work in the area, and three have already moved into Alta Vista de la Montaña. Applications from five additional refugee families are pending, said Rainie Kelso of CRHDC. She has been working with Luis Ibanez, the on-site property manager, to process applications from workers engaged in a variety of agricultural occupations. She anticipates all 40 units of the development will be occupied by July.
Residents of Alta Vista de la Montaña must earn 65 percent of their annual income from agricultural work and must be legal residents of the United States. Rents are determined on the household's yearly income and will not exceed 30 percent of yearly pay.
Gold concluded the grand opening ceremony with these comments: "CRHDC is grateful that the farmworker population is as important to all of you as it is to CRHDC. At the end of the day it is not about buildings and structures but about people that play a key role in our individual lives and our economy. It is about the lives that we touch and improve and the opportunities for these families to be integrated into our communities."blog comments powered by Disqus