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Longmont Affordable Housing Complex, With140 Families, Marks Grand Opening

November 17, 2018

The 140-unit Centennial Park Apartments affordable housing complex is full. There is a waiting list for future occupants.

Samantha Hill was living near Paonia with her two children and dogs, but her husband couldn’t find much work there as a welder, so he split time between their home and a small apartment in Longmont.

Hill began looking for an apartment in Longmont but couldn’t find a two-bedroom apartment for less than $1,500 a month. As a full time-student taking care of 3 and 1-year-old girls, that was simply out of the question.

“It was awful,” the 27-year old said. “I got to the point where I was like, maybe we could tastefully hang a sheet here to try and create another bedroom.”

After months of searching, Hill finally heard about a new affordable housing project being built in Mountain View called the Centennial Park Apartments .

While the development has 140 units , there was 1,000 person waitlist so when the property manager called and told she could move into a three bedroom units for $960 a month , she couldn’t believe her ears.

“It united our family. We’d go months without being able to see each other. Being able to just be in the same house as one another is phenomenal. It’s been really for our kids,” Hill said.

“This place was really a saving grace and it’s a good stepping stone for us. From here I’ll be able to graduate and we’re finally not paycheck to paycheck anymore and save up for a down payment for a home and open up the apartment for somebody else who’s in a similar situation as we were.”

Constructed by the Summit Housing Group , a Missoula, Mont., development company that specialized in affordable housing , the Centennial Park Apartments — which celebrated an official grand opening Friday — serve community members earning 40 to 60 percent of the area median income or $45,660 a year or less, for an individual.

Of the 140 units, 45 are for those making 40 percent of the area median income, 38 are for those making 50 percent and 56 units are for those making 60 percent of the area median income. Depending on a renter’s income, rents range from $668 for a 906 square foot one-bedroom apartment to $1,609 for a 1,346 square foot four bedroom apartment .

Using a combination of state and federal tax credits, money from the flood disaster relief fund and 500,000 in waived fees from Longmont, Rusty Snow, president of the Summit Housing Group , said units could be made a bit larger than normal and additional amenities could be provided.

“Because we used tax credits and are paid through a development fee, we weren’t really concerned about our yields so we were able to do everything we wanted,” he said. The real difference is providing different types of units and building 12 unit buildings, instead of 24 or 36 units buildings, which gives it a bit more of a community feel.”

Along with larger rooms, more spacious buildings and nicer appliances, The Centennial Park Apartments offer a fitness center, a community garden, a playground and a community room with a pool table and computers.

“It feels like a hotel,” said Alex Yearley , a 26-year old resident, who had previously lived in a 250-square-foot studio with her 2-year old son, husband and two cats, for which they paid $950. “I am now paying the same for a three-bedroom apartment with granite counter tops and central air. It’s insane. It’s the perfect living space.”

While some at the city, in particular City Manager Harold Dominguez , were disappointed to see over $4 million from flood disaster relief funds go to new housing developments rather than existing home repair, it’s hard to argue with the numbers.

All 140 units are already filled, many of them by people who had their homes destroyed in the 2013 flood. Others are referrals from the Inn Between.

“The reason we do this is because it makes a difference in people’s lives,” Scott Long, owner of Summit Housing Group said before officially cutting the ribbon at Friday’s celebration.

“Whether it’s a foothold in the housing market or they’re finally able to afford a place to live, it improves people’s quality of life.”

John Spina: 303-473-1389, jspina@times-call.com or twitter.com/jsspina24

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