Affordable housing a win-win in Palisade

Photo by Dean Humphrey—Melanie Wade works on one of the homes in Palisade being built by Housing Resources on Rodeo and Vineyard avenues.

Brian Montgomery of Palisade feels he lives in one of the prettiest parts of the Grand Valley. He has brilliant views of Grand Mesa and Mount Garfield, while sprawling Riverbend Park is a short walk away.

In December, Montgomery moved into one of two homes that had been slated to be part of Palisade’s Wine Valley Estates, a 10-acre subdivision that was to be comprised of custom homes.

But that interpretation of Wine Valley Estates never materialized because the developer, to avoid foreclosure, sold the 30 remaining undeveloped lots to Housing Resources of Western Colorado in 2009. The nonprofit, affordable-housing provider bought the lots at a bargain rate, $1.49 million, or just under $50,000 per lot, and expressed a desire to build homes for low- and middle-income buyers there.

Montgomery admitted he was concerned the quality of the homes that would soon surround him would devalue his property. But the spacious stucco and stone homes being built by homeowners through Housing Resources are pleasantly surprising neighbors.

“They’re doing decent homes,” Montgomery said. “It’s not like they’re throwing up a 1,200-square-foot home with vinyl siding. They’ve really stepped up their quality.”

Today, Housing Resources is hosting an open-house event to celebrate its mutual self-help housing program. The homes are on Vineyard Avenue. Festivities start at 9:30 a.m. at Riverbend Park with tree plantings and a park pickup, followed by home tours and a barbecue.

For this project, homeowners have worked with each other to build 11 homes, nine of the homes at the Palisade site. Move-in occurs after all of the homes are finished, a timetable that is scheduled tentatively for late August or September. Mandatory sweat equity to build homes helps homeowners work off down-payment costs.

By some measures, homeowners working on this project have benefitted from lower prices brought by the recession and housing standards imposed by the town of Palisade.

Housing Resources was able to purchase the land at bargain prices after the developer of Wine Valley Estates fell into financial troubles. To avoid foreclosure, developer Tom Geist, sold off the subdivision’s remaining lots for at least $40,000 less per lot.

Palisade’s housing standards require at least 40 percent of a home’s front to be a covered porch. Housing Resources decided to make homes more spacious than their other projects, each home coming in with a 1,450-square-foot footprint. Other measures have been taken to ensure the homes’ appearances do not suggest they are low-income. Exteriors are stucco and stone, and each home is situated on a large lot with a two-car garage.

Homeowner Melanie Wade said she is proud of the quality of her home. Situated on a corner lot, her home is appraised at $230,000. She’ll take out a mortgage for $167,000.

“We kind of got really spoiled in this deal,” she said while attaching wire to a home to prepare for stucco work.

Lots for homes are available in the housing development for Housing Resources’ next project. For more information about the program or today’s event, visit or call 241-2871.


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