Posted by Bob Simmons
Last week our speakers were Kristin Candella, CEO of Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity and Bruce Hendee, project manager, describing a unique “Habitat” project under construction at the SE corner of Taft Hill and Harmony Roads. The introduction was by Mara Johnson, the Philanthropy Director at Habitat.
Mara introduced the two main speakers by way of a clever quiz comparing Rotary and “Habitat”. Kristan described the acquisition of the site by Habitat, it’s transfer to a new management company, Harmony Limited, LLC and the identification of the tasks involved in the initial development of this site. She briefly described Habitat’s multiple roles - homebuilder, mortgage lender and retail store.
Before the project was started the following needs were identified -1) strategy 2) community investment 3 ) formation of a design and construction team 4) schedule and milestones 5) budget and funding and 6) roles and responsibilities.
Bruce Hendee, our second speaker, was chosen to design and plan the project.  Bruce is a landscape architect and planner who has been working in Ft Collins for over 30 years.  The initial challenge was to rework the site to provide enough housing density on the 4.4 acres to make homes affordable.  The original number of 30 could not meet that goal and was revised upward to the currently planned 48 (duplex) units. The target home owner qualifies with a 45%-80% area median income, and, for example, might  be workers such as restaurant employees or medical assistants.
Despite the density and affordability, the project goal can be summarized by the phrase, “beauty and elegance”.  Homes are separated, designed with the “pocket neighborhood concept”, well landscaped and colorful.  It is a demonstration project for energy efficiency with solar panels on each roof and energy efficient design to minimize utility bills for this population.
Unique community input included the design of the playground by Kinard Middle School  students and  the building (off-site) of two homes by PHS STEM students!
Harmony Cottages is the largest development in Ft Collins Habitat for Humanity history.  The fifth family is scheduled to move in soon!  After Bruce’s presentation, many excellent questions added to the details of this unique project.