S — Construction crews from Connell Resources began work Monday on an unglamorous, but critical, $1.5 million utility project intended to help keep one of Steamboat’s workforce housing neighborhoods along the Yampa River viable for decades to come.

The replacement of water and sewer lines in Fish Creek Mobile Home Park, owned by the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, is being undertaken at the same time Connell will also up-size a nearby city sanitary sewer interceptor.

The park has 67 mobile homes with close access to parks, grocery shopping and the walkable, bikeable Yampa River Core Trail running along its western boundary.

The city lent the Housing Authority $954,000 in 2007 to help with the purchase of the mobile home park from Bob and Audrey Enever, who had owned it for 33 years. The Housing Authority took out an additional bank loan of $2.58 million, counting on lot rent to cover the debt. That debt has since been refinanced, allowing the Housing Authority to leverage a loan through the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority to fund the water and sewer work.

Kathi Meyer, chairwoman of the Housing Authority Board, said melding the replacement of water and sewer lines to the mobile homes with the city’s need for a new interceptor brought about economies of scale. But putting together the finances was no easy task.

City of Steamboat Director of General Services Anne Small said Tuesday that the project was bid with three different schedules: The first, assigned to YVHA for $813,456; a second, assigned to the city’s project totaling $296,248; and the third, in which the city and the authority shared costs (YVHA $285,142 and city, $103,334), for a total of $1.498 million.

The city’s total share of the project is $399,583, and the authority’s share is a $1,098,598 million.

Connell submitted the lowest of three bids received on the project, Small said.