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Historic lease a monumental step towards solving affordable workforce housing crisis, enabling construction of up to 177 units for US Forest Service and Summit County workforce.
The following is a joint press release with the United States Forest Service
SUMMIT COUNTY – On Wednesday, the White River National Forest and Summit County signed a 50-year lease of the 11-acre Dillon Work Center Administrative Site for the development of affordable workforce housing. This is the first lease to be signed under the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which provides the Forest Service the authority to enter long-term lease arrangements at qualifying administrative sites in exchange for cash or non-cash consideration.
“This is a significant milestone in our efforts to improve affordable housing in Summit County. This has been a challenging project with a number of hurdles to overcome. I am extremely grateful for the resilience of our Summit County partners and the commitment of our staff to make this a reality,” said White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams. “This lease is the first of its kind for the Forest Service and can serve as a model for partnering with local agencies on shared workforce housing solutions. There is much work to do, but I am looking forward to breaking ground in 2024.”
“The signing of this lease represents a landmark occasion for the county and the forest service, and quite frankly for housing across the nation,” said Summit County Commissioner Tamara Pogue. “Not only is this a unique collaboration, and the first in its kind in the country, it is an innovative approach to solving Summit County’s housing crisis, one that impacts the ability for the Forest Service to protect and serve our community. I couldn’t be prouder of the teamwork that made this possible.”
Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, who was the primary author of the 2018 legislation, commended the efforts of the Forest Service and Summit County. “Colorado faces a housing crisis, and our mountain and rural communities are at the center of it,” said Bennet. “When Colorado’s teachers, firefighters, police, and nurses can no longer afford to live where they work, we need to use every tool we have to fix this problem. It was those people I had in mind when I wrote this legislation. The Flexible Partnerships Act enables the Forest Service to partner with communities like those in Summit County to address their housing needs. Colorado is leading by example, and I’m pleased to see the first project in the nation under this new authority move forward.”
The lease will help meet the workforce housing needs of the local community and Forest Service by allowing for the development of up to 177 affordable, long-term rental units of mixed configuration along with a neighborhood community center, residential parking, public transit connections, and upgraded infrastructure and utilities. This redevelopment will provide affordable workforce housing to permanent and seasonal Forest Service employees, Summit County employees, and other Summit County residents who qualify. Work on the ground is currently expected to begin in 2024.
More information about this project is available at www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=63214.