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Town homes: Fort Lupton to put NRP grant to use

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By Gene Sears

Though a casual observer might not notice, the city is in the process of some serious urban renewal, likely in a neighborhood near you.
    Taking the reins of a grant program designed to turn derelict housing into habitable family homes, Fort Lupton staffers have purchased six houses in the city with plans to remediate, remodel and resell to local families in need of affordable housing.
    It’s all part of the Neighborhood Restabilization Program effort, a federal program that allotted the city just over $1 million to purchase and rehab properties in Fort Lupton. Five of the six are slated for remediation of woes such as lead, asbestos and mold before remodeling, while one — on Elm Court — will require a full teardown and rebuild. The houses acquired under the program had to meet certain criteria for the grants to apply such as being at least 60 days in arrears, or already into the foreclosure process.

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    The idea is to salvage the homes, make the properties maintenance free for a period of at least five years and allow the low-income purchaser to gain a toehold in home ownership at a minimum of cost.
    Resold to mortgagers whose incomes fall within 80 to 120 percent of the poverty level, the homes must meet Energy Star criteria for efficiency. Landscaping, if lacking, will be replaced to minimum standards — another step to reduce costs for the potential homeowner.
    “Abatement is now either in progress or about to be started in all five of those houses,” Andersen said. “Remediation of asbestos, lead or mold. Under the NRP rules, all properties have to be tested for environmental hazards. We tested for radon as well. None tested positive for methamphetamine.
    “In both of those subdivisions they have had a lot of backups over the years,” Andersen added. “They are in a high water table area, especially in the Mont View subdivision. So it seems mold is our biggest adversary.
    “The company that the city chose is Weecycle, out of Boulder, Andersen said. “They are in charge of the testing and then they send out the bids for the cleanup and make sure they are certified and oversee the process. Once they are done, Weecycle goes in and retests again to make sure that they clear.”
    Another home on Elm Court is a former meth-contaminated house now slated for teardown, a project the city has been involved in for the past few years while attempting to purchase the property. That hurdle cleared, plans are in the works to demolish the structure.
    “We have to have it abated, then we plan to tear it down and build it anew,” Andersen said.
    But first, the remediation and rehabilitation of the other five, likely six months or so from the market.
    “By the time we can get them back out onto the market, I would anticipate springtime,” Andersen said. “One, because we are coming up on the holidays, and two, spring is usually the best time to sell houses. But interested parties can certainly talk to us now if they are interested in looking at buying, or to see if they qualify for purchasing when they are available.”