Tuesday, June 29, a groundbreaking ceremony took place in the Hideaway Junction neighborhood of Winter Park, CO, to mark the beginning of the construction of 10 workforce homes. These homes are deed-restricted, meaning that their value will be kept consistent for decades to ensure affordability for potential owners. These homes are priced below market value and will be confined to limited amounts of appreciation as the home goes on the market.
Nick Kutrumbos, Mayor of Winter Park, CO, acknowledges the need to continue to make further plans to develop affordable housing but knows that it will take multiple partnerships and solutions moving forward. Along with this 10-house project, another 60-unit apartment complex, Fireside Creek, is in the planning stage. There are other products in the planning phase in nearby Fraser, Grand Lake, and Granby. The already thin housing market took a blow last summer when the East Troublesome fire destroyed 10% of available housing.
A large issue facing the housing crisis is that many home buyers are not permanent residents of Grand County. These part-time owners often have higher average incomes than permanent residents of the county. According to Sky-Hi News, 50% of part-time residents have an annual household income of $300,000, where only 10% of permanent county residents have the same income. To mitigate this problem, it has been suggested that a housing authority needs to be established. The biggest obstacle is funding. The Grand County Housing Authority Director Sheena Darling acknowledges it will be difficult to get funding from various government organizations and persuade developers to build truly affordable housing.
Even though this current project will hardly make a difference in the affordable housing crisis in Grand County, it is encouraging to know that the local government acknowledges the problem and is attempting to make a change. This effort to build affordable housing should give skiers hope that they’ll be able to live in a mountain community and keep the dream alive of having easy access to ski areas.