Grand Lake commits to ArtSpace site
Grand Lake continues to move forward with plans for a workforce housing project at the corner of Hancock Street and Park Avenue.
The board of trustees unanimously approved a site selection plan on Monday. A number of votes remain on the horizon as plans continue to get firmed up, but Monday’s move was framed as “a substantial commitment” for pursuing the workforce project at that site.
As previously reported, the town continues to look at a workforce housing project with 20 or 30 new units, though the size of it will likely be dependent on securing financing and what requirements that money comes with.
For its part, the town will be expected to put up 10% of the total cost of the project, and the price of the land would count toward the town’s contribution. It’s not finalized, but the town is considering leasing the land to the developers for 40 years, after which Grand Lake would take back full control of the property.
Grand Lake was awarded a Space to Create workforce housing project through a competitive process led by the state. The state selected ArtSpace, a nonprofit developer, to manage the project, which will include live-work space for artists and creative-types, including studio space on the ground floor.
Before Monday’s vote, Grand Lake Trustee Cindy Southway reiterated that the town can’t afford to lose out on parking with the development taking over the lots that are currently there, and she wanted to ensure ArtSpace is doing everything it can to acquire more parking.
“I don’t believe that Park Avenue is the answer for losing these parking spaces,” Southway said.
The project is tied to work on Park Avenue for the town’s StreetScape plan, and Town Manager John Crone told the board that the town needed to make a “firm commitment” to the site, as plans are progressing on multiple fronts and will affect each other.
In response, board members, including Southway brought up parking again, before unanimously supporting the site selection.
In other business:
• Town staff discussed code enforcement efforts with trustees. The town manger said Grand Lake’s enforcement officer seems to be generating an equal number of complaints that he’s been enforcing the code too much and not enough, while the officer discussed how he’s carrying out his duties.
• Following a presentation from the Open Lands Rivers and Trails Committee, Trustee Southway suggested the town consider designating some of the Stanley Property as open space while trying to tap into grant funding from the committee. Trustee Ernie Bjorkman said he “liked that idea a lot.”
• The board supported a new pricing structure that the Grand Lake Fire Protection District board developed for life, safety and fire inspections on short-term rental units. The inspections are required by the town, and they are being performed by Grand Lake Fire.
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