On February 6th, 2017, Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) facilitated a dialogue that focused on housing resources and stakeholders in Grand County. The event was hosted by the Town of Fraser, with support from the Grand Foundation, who provided lunch for the participants. This was the first in a series of rural housing workshops that DCI plans on leading across Colorado throughout 2017.
Participants and stakeholders included Katherine Correll, Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) and DiAnn Butler, Grand County Economic Development, involved state agencies, private sector partners, and other communities working on housing, including Terry Barnard, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority; Kathryn Grosscup, Colorado Division of Housing; and Brandy Reitter, Buena Vista Town Administrator. Greg Winkler, Department of Local Affairs; Tim Gough, Colorado Division of Housing; Karen Harkin, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority; and Elena Scott, Norris Design, also provided expertise before/during the meeting.
The DCI Housing Workshop focused on helping identify up to three action steps Grand County can start on immediately and make progress in six months. It is important to note that “working on housing is a marathon, not a sprint” so this first workshop will open the door to a long-term strategy. Some of the primary action steps discussed for grand focused on the following areas:
Information and Communication: Identifying the resources and all stakeholders to engage in a county-wide dialogue on housing. Participants specified the need to involve private sector land owners and major employers and assess available resources, including access to water.
Planning and Studies: To show a housing need and attract financing and developers, Grand will need a greater understanding of current housing stock, substandard housing, etc. Grand County can lead the effort in developing a request for proposals and applying for grant funds to support housing studies.
Assessing the Regulatory Environment: Housing diversity is a major priority in Grand County. From Tiny Homes to mixed-use development, regulations should be updated to reflect current priorities and encourager the types of development that the Grand workforce needs.
Over 30 participants came from a range of public and private organizations in Grand County. Participants included representatives from Grand County, Town of Winter Park, Town of Fraser, Granby Mountain Bank, Grand County Authority, Town of Grand Lake, Grand Foundation, and the
“DCI’s facilitated dialogue on housing brought stakeholders from communities across Grand County together to create feasible action steps towards solving the issues of housing affordability in the county. DCI’s advisory services and access to helpful resources has made an enormous difference in how Grand County and its numerous stakeholders collaborate with each other.” - DiAnn Butler, Grand County Economic Development