Town board to determine location for replacement housing
By Whitney Bryen
As Lyons weaves through the maze of replacement housing for flood-displaced residents, a local nonprofit has hired temporary advocates to supplement the town’s efforts. A flood rebuild advocate, a displaced residents advocate and two manufactured housing analysts were hired by the Lyons Emergency Assistance Fund — a nonprofit formed following the 2013 flood to provide basic needs to area residents — to support about 100 displaced families.
The temporary employees were brought on in November and will work in Lyons for three to 12 months depending on the need and if any additional funding is available to keep them longer, said LEAF cofounder Emily Flemming.
The positions were funded by $30,000 in grants from the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County and the Lyons Community Foundation.
The employees will be overseen by LEAF and by two advisory committees made up of displaced and rebuilding residents, members of Lyons’ Housing Recovery Task Force and members of the town’s Board of Trustees. The new employees are intended to support the rebuilding efforts of the town and other groups, not to duplicate efforts, said Flemming, who is also the pastor of Lyons Community Church.
“The goal is to fill the gaps that the community has voiced,” Flemming said. “We didn’t start this because the town asked us to. We started it because individuals asked us to, so it was a direct response to community feedback.”
Flood rebuilding advocate Jonathan Diller is helping residents in one of the hardest hit neighborhoods nicknamed “the Confluence” for the nearby converging rivers. So far, the work has included helping residents get building permits and approvals and coordinating with insurance companies, Boulder County and the town of Lyons. “My goal is to get as many homeowners as possible to have their building permits approved by the time that my contract runs out in March,” Diller said.
Tensions remain high in the Confluence more than a year after the flood, Diller said. He described some of the residents as desperate and stressed, but he hopes his position provides some comfort to the neighborhood.
Manufactured housing analysts Andy Rumbach and Brandon Gossard and displaced residents advocate Janaki Jane have been on the job for less than two weeks, Flemming said. Rumbach and Gossard will be looking at possible scenarios for a replacement mobile home park in Lyons. Jane will provide support to former residents of Lyons’ two mobile home parks and relay information back to the town as plans for replacement housing move forward.
The town’s Board of Trustees is awaiting an analysis on three potential sites for replacement housing including a portion of Bohn Park, the Lyons Dog Park and a private property east of Lyons Valley Park. The third-party company will present its findings to the board during a meeting Dec. 15, and the board is hoping to decide where to build at their first meeting in January, trustee Connie Sullivan wrote in an email Monday.
The trustees will apply for Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Recovery to help with the cost of the planned 60 units. The application deadline for the grants has been moved from mid December to early next year, likely in February or March, giving the board more time to finalize the plan for replacement housing, according to an email from Trustee Dan Greenberg.