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Numerous Officials Break Ground On Frisco's Granite Park

Tue May 30, 2023 - Midwest Edition #12

Rendering of the Granite Park Affordable and Employee Housing development in Frisco, Colo.
(CDOT photo)
Rendering of the Granite Park Affordable and Employee Housing development in Frisco, Colo. (CDOT photo)

The Colorado Department of Transportation, the town of Frisco and elected officials came together to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Granite Park Employee Housing Site in Frisco on Tues., May 16. The new employee housing development will help to address workforce housing challenges, which has reached crisis levels since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The future development will include 22 units that will be exclusively made available to qualifying Summit County employees and CDOT maintainers.

"Being able to recruit and retain employees in high-cost-of-living areas has been a challenge for CDOT," said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. "We knew we needed to think outside the box and collaborate with our community partners to identify ways we can collectively provide affordable workforce housing as this is an issue that expands across industries. We are thrilled to be celebrating alongside our partners at the town of Frisco and show the power of collaboration that works to do what is in the best interest of our communities."

In August 2020, Frisco Town Council approved the Employee Housing Planning Agreement between CDOT and the town of Frisco to develop an employee housing project on the lot owned by CDOT in the town of Frisco. The agreement lays the foundation to jointly undertake all necessary actions to design and develop workforce housing units by requiring CDOT and the town to share all costs 50/50 (excluding each agency's staffing and personnel costs). This initiative helps address the critical need of recruiting and retaining a sustainable workforce.

In 2022, the town of Frisco and CDOT were joined in this unique partnership by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), which awarded $1.5 million to the town of Frisco to help bring Granite Park to reality through their Innovative Housing Opportunities Incentive grants. The DOLA, through the Division of Local Government, awarded more than $18 million in funding across 13 counties in Colorado through this program. These 14 Innovative Housing Opportunities Incentive (IHOI) grants will provide 1,872 additional housing units, providing housing for approximately 4,867 people across Colorado.

"Workforce housing has been a pressing need in Frisco and Summit County for many years and has reached crisis levels over the past two years," stated Frisco Mayor Hunter Mortensen "It is a crisis which will require many creative partnerships like this one and we are gratified to be on the forefront of this approach with CDOT and DOL."

"It is so exciting and encouraging to see the groundbreaking of the Granite Park Employee Housing Project today," said Sen. Dylan Roberts. "This partnership is a perfect example of government working well to solve one of our most pressing challenges: affordable housing for our local workforce. Every employee that makes our mountain communities run, from snowplow drivers to teachers, police officers to restaurant employees, deserves to be able to live in the community where they work and this project will make that a reality for many. As Summit County's State Senator, I am honored to have helped secure funding to help make this project happen and thank all the other partners for their leadership that made today a reality. Let's build more housing now."

The Granite Park Employee Housing site is one of two projects that is breaking ground this year as part of CDOT's initiative to recruit and retain maintainers, particularly within mountain communities. The next development, which begins construction in summer 2023, will be built in Fairplay and will house both CDOT maintainers and Colorado State Patrol employees.

"This housing effort is a matter of necessity and builds on other efforts to draw in and keep our professional highway maintainers," said CDOT Director of Maintenance and Operations John Lorme. "CDOT also has increased our housing stipends that can boost pay by more than 60 percent in areas with unsustainable costs of living. CDOT is taking a strong stance in finding innovative solutions that will directly benefit our CDOT family, which will also have a direct benefit to the traveling public by having more maintainers on our roadways and hiring within local communities rather than have folks commute in from surrounding areas. Its important that our maintainers live and work in the same areas. They are part of the community they serve."

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