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Boulder Takes Unique Step To Preserve Affordable Housing

By Andrea Flores

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) - The City of Boulder closed on a deal to buy the Ponderosa Mobile Home Park for $4.2 million.

The city purchased the property to ensure long-term affordability for the residents and to address ongoing concerns of the condition of the current infrastructure.

"It's a very affordable mobile home park currently, the residents pay $540 per month for their rent, and they own the mobile home units that sit here," said Kurt Firnhaber, Boulder's Deputy Director of Housing. "It's really a great community of people that have lived here for a long time."

The mobile home park is currently in the county but surrounded by the city.

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(credit: CBS)

The City of Boulder says the purchase of the property will lead to an annexation into the city and an upgrade of infrastructure and housing.

"We'll be upgrading the infrastructure, paving the streets, and putting in new sewer and water," Firnhaber said.

Ponderosa houses 190 residents and 68 units.

The City of Boulder hopes to improve their quality of life.

"We're going to live better than the way we do right now," said Cesar Lopez, a 10-year resident of the park.

While some residents are excited about the purchase, others are still unsure about what the sale means for them.

"I think the number one thing that is on everybody's mind is, are we staying or are we going to have to move?" Amanda Corral told CBS4's Andrea Flores. "We're told the city isn't going to tear it down, in the beginning, we were told that was a possibility."

Corral hopes the City of Boulder keeps their promise to residents.

"[Residents] know all their neighbors. It's like a little family," said Corral. "If I had to leave here, I don't think I could afford another place in Boulder. I would probably have to move out of Boulder and that's something I wouldn't want to do."

After annexation, the City of Boulder will be responsible for providing services and for replacing the existing utility infrastructure.

"This particular property and its condition has been a concern of the city for many years. We are pleased to have found a path to purchase this property with the Mantel family.  Over this past year, we have met with many of the residents at Ponderosa and we will work with this tightknit community that exists, to create a resiliency and permanent affordability," said Deputy Director of Housing, Kurt Firnhaber.

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(credit: CBS)

The annexation process is expected to begin in 2018. After completion of the redevelopment, the city will work with residents to identify a long-term owner of the land, such as a resident cooperative or nonprofit, that will ensure long term affordability.

Andrea Flores is a reporter for CBS4. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @AndreaFloresTV.

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