Mancos has lost out to Ridgway in a project that could have brought affordable housing for artists to town, officials learned this month.
The Space to Create program aims to construct affordable housing for artists and other creatives in Colorado communities and is funded by Colorado Creative Industries, the Department of Local Affairs and the Boettcher Foundation.
Mancos hosted program officials for a site visit in May and had identified a short list of properties that might be suitable for redevelopment as artist housing. But Ridgway got the award, Mancos Town Administrator Andrea Phillips said.
“We’re happy for them,” she said. “We’re still going to try doing an assessment of housing needs here.”
Space to Create officials took much longer to decide than Phillips expected, but they were looking at both communities closely, she said. It came down to which community had a site that would work and a more complete package, and officials picked Ridgway, she said.
Mancos officials had identified a list of about eight properties that could potentially have been the site for an artist housing project. Some of those downtown sites were the Mancos Common Press building, the former hardware store and several vacant lots.
The focus of the Space to Create program will shift from Southwest Colorado to another region of the state. But Mancos may still pursue artist housing and other affordable housing solutions, Phillips said.
Trustees and town staff discussed the housing needs of Mancos in July at a board retreat, she said. Most of the homes in Mancos are single-family, and there is little multi-family housing such as apartments and condos. People around town say it’s hard to find affordable housing in town, whether they’re buying or renting, she said.
“We have a need for affordable housing but also for market-rate housing,” Phillips said.
Town staff members are collaborating with the Montezuma County Housing Authority and are looking at hiring a consultant to investigate housing demand in the area, Phillips said. Soon, the town will seek quotes for such a project, and Phillips said she expected that to cost around $5,000.
“We’re trying to see what demand is and what we can support here,” Phillips said.