The former Fitzsimons Army Base in Aurora, Colorado, continues to serve the community even though it was deactivated in 1999. The base is now home to Liberty View, a 59-unit development for veterans 62 and older.
The $20.2 million development was years in the making for the Housing Authority of the City of Aurora. When the base closed, the McKinney-Vento Homeless Act provided 15 acres of surplus federal property to the Colorado Department of Human Services to house veterans. In the early 2000s, a skilled-nursing facility was created, but no other efforts were made until a law was signed requiring the completion of the 15-acre site in 2016.
Liberty View is now one of three buildings on the site that offers a continuum of housing options, in addition to the skilled nursing facility and a permanent supportive housing development from the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. The campus also includes the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, as well as transit, restaurants, and parks.
The one- and two-bedroom community is serving veterans, including some formerly homeless, who earn between 30% and 60% of the area median income. In addition, 14 Section 8 vouchers are assisting lower-income veterans.
“It is satisfying to see the veterans living there after working on the deal for so long,” says executive director Craig A. Maraschky. “It’s our way to give back to them.”
Amenities include a community room and kitchen, parcel lockers, a laundry room on each floor, resident gardens, EV-ready parking spaces, a fitness room, a library, and a computer lab. A service coordinator also helps connect residents to nearby resources as well as social events and activities.
The development started leasing in January and was finished in May. “There’s a solid demand for senior housing for veterans,” he says, adding that he has seen a camaraderie between the residents during this short time. “We have some program activities that we put together, and the veterans have gotten together on their own. They like to support each other and share experiences that you might not see in other properties.”