On Wednesday, September 4, Artspace Director and Space to Create Project Lead Andrew Michaelson came to Trinidad to meet with board members and construction crews to discuss progress and design considerations for the West Main Street location. Passing by either the Main Street or Elm Street locations, the ‘lofty’ project can be seen well underway, crews working to achieve their Summer 2020 deadline goal.
Michaelson, who’s passion is evident by the enthusiasm with which he speaks about this project, hopes it will be a demonstration of what’s possible in rural cities around the country.
“It’s easy to overlook rural communities and communities that have seen the ups and downs of economies rising and falling,” said Michaelson. “Looking at the way that Trinidad has really deliberately invested in it’s history and locating our project on Main Street, that brings more people in, are all things that can resonate in communities across the country.”
In addition to the Main Street location’s 13-loft units, the project decided to take on another location for affordable housing on Elm Street that will accommodate 28 more units.
“The key driver for the Elm Street apartments was there were more need for housing than we could deliver with the Main Street site,” said Michaelson. “That was a reaction to a market study we conducted to determine really how many people are here that are in need of this type of housing at these affordability levels and it well exceeded 13 units and more even beyond the 41 we’re ultimately building. So that really says even what we build isn’t enough. More could be done.”
As Trinidad grows, a need for affordable housing is extremely important in order to house an equally growing demand for workers Michaelson notes.
“Something we’ve heard over and over again is we can’t hire teachers, etc. because we can’t house them,” said Michaelson. “Housing is a human right. People need a safe dignified place to live. Some place to call home allows you to focus on other elements in your life you want to improve or do better or just not have to worry about.”
Michaelson says this isn’t just a problem in Trinidad, but everywhere and adds a great amount of stress and harm to the economy and to people themselves.
“As a nation we’ve seen policies go for better or worse towards investing in housing and we’re really seeing a lot of those stresses particularly on folks who can’t afford or are putting so much money towards their rent every month that their neglecting their health or their medicines or other investments. To be able to alleviate some of those pressures is huge.”
The apartments at both locations are designed to best accommodate creative industry individuals looking for an affordable place to stay but Michaelson says at the end of the day, anyone is welcome to put in an application.
“The key take away is anyone that’s interested is welcome to apply,” Michaelson said.
In his experience with Artspace and the many projects he’s overseen nation wide, Michaelson said he’s really fired up about the Trinidad project, and loves the energy it’s bringing to the town.
“Specific to Trinidad,” Michaelson said, “I’m really itching to see what happens once it’s completed, once there are residents there, once businesses start. I’m excited to see two or three years from now what actually has come. It’s exciting to know there’s that opportunity, but to see it come to fruition… that’s really what keeps me coming down.”
For more information about the Space to Create project, visit Artspace.org. To see a full interview with Andrew Michaelson going into more detail about the project, visit Chronicle’s Facebook page or our website, thechronicle-news.com.