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The proposed development on the football field and bus barn properties in Idaho Springs is projected to have about 100 apartments, a park across from the rec center and commercial development. Rents …
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The proposed development on the football field and bus barn properties in Idaho Springs is projected to have about 100 apartments, a park across from the rec center and commercial development.
Rents for the apartments, which Stephanie Copeland with Four Points Development called middle-income workforce housing, would range from $1,100 for a 450-square-foot studio apartment to $3,400 a month for a four-bedroom apartment.
Copeland said the firm, which would own the apartment buildings, also is working on a way to give preference to renters who work in Clear Creek County, noting, though, that if no workers were interested in available apartments, the firm would move outside the county to find tenants.
“We have to be careful, so we do not have a lot of migration from Denver,” she said.
Copeland explained the vision for the development at a community meeting on June 3, answering questions even though the plans are conceptual at this point. She hopes more people will attend the presentation and ask questions at the next community meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 23, at Carlson Elementary School.
“We want these meetings to be more representative, so we hear from everyone,” Copeland said. “We want people to ask questions and voice their concerns. You may not like what we are proposing, but at least we want you to have the facts.”
Four Points, which was chosen by the Clear Creek school board to purchase the properties for $2.525 million and develop them, is discussing its plans with the community and Idaho Springs officials before formally moving through the city’s rezoning and site-development process later this year.
The lack of housing has been an ongoing problem in the county and for the school district. Most teachers drive up the hill or from Summit County to teach here. Four Points expects some of the two-bedroom units and all of the four-bedroom units to be roommate situations.
In fact, four four-bedroom units will be specifically for Clear Creek teachers, which is part of the sales agreement with the school district.
“We understand that the property in Idaho Springs has emotional attachments,” Superintendent Karen Quanbeck told attendees at the June 3 meeting, “but a pain point is declining enrollment in the district. … (The district) is dependent on increasing enrollment,” which can be turned around if there is housing available for families with young children.
She explained that the school board selected Four Points because of its willingness to have a transparent process with all community stakeholders and to provide balanced growth for Idaho Springs.
Four Points wants to rezone the properties to Planned Development to have greater control of the development, Copeland said. The firm plans to own the buildings for at least 10 years, and she wants to ensure that the zoning would not allow a new owner to try to overbuild the site in the future.
If Four Points gets the necessary approvals from Idaho Springs, it hopes to begin construction in spring 2022.
She said the higher-density apartment buildings would be on the south side of the football field along Interstate 70, with the buildings having two stories facing the neighboring houses to the north and three stories facing the highway. The firm envisions the exteriors to be “modern farmhouse” to keep with Idaho Springs’ Victorian and mining heritage.
“We think those are more appropriate uses that can also beautify the area,” Copeland said. “That’s the housing we are talking about.”
At other meetings that Four Points has hosted, issues raised included parking, traffic, shading of the homes north of the development, noise and ensuring current homes still had mountain views. Copeland pointed out that many of the issues raised would be addressed both as the firm hones in on design plans and in the city’s development approval process.
The commercial development on the site would be west of the bus barn property, and an Ace Hardware and a firm that recycles denim have expressed interest in possibly locating there. In addition, Miner Street would be widened on the north side of the football field to accommodate two lanes of traffic and parking.
Copeland is excited about the park, saying she hopes it will become a gathering place, where people can rent equipment at the rec center and take it into the park. She wants it to have the flexibility to accommodate the recreational needs of a variety of users.
Both Copeland and Carla Cole with Space Inc., an architectural firm working with Four Points, stressed the need for residents to voice their concerns, so they could be addressed as the project development moves forward.
“We recognize that the Clear Creek School District has goals of monetizing the properties and reinvesting (the money) in our children,” Cole said. “We also recognize the city wants sustainable growth. We are moving in a direction where we can plan for growth, or we can let growth happen and take over our city.”
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