Grand Foundation Purchases Workforce Housing

October 7, 2022
Sky Hi News

The Grand Foundation announced Thursday, Oct. 6, that is has purchased the Black Black Bear Lodge outside of Grand Lake across from the Trail Ridge Marina and will donate it to the Grand County Housing Authority to use as workforce housing, potentially before the end of the year.

For years the foundation has assisted Grand County workers with rental and down payment assistance through their two housing assistance funds, the Winter Park Housing Assistance Fund and the Grand County Housing Assistance Fund.

Since 2017 the two funds have awarded out over a million dollars in grants to more than 2,300 individuals and have impacted over 350 Grand County businesses. Despite these efforts, Grand County still had an affordable housing problem due in large part to a lack of inventory.

It was even more apparent after the East Troublesome Fire destroyed nearly 5% of the housing inventory in 2020. Throughout the last two years, the foundation has been assisting families impacted by the fire with the Grand County Wildfire Emergency Fund, yet there are still families that cannot afford the current available rentals, said the foundation’s executive director Megan Ledin.

Purchasing the Black Bear Lodge was the first step in alleviating that issue. The owners of the lodge, Robert Ricci and Therese McGraw, reached out to the Grand Foundation.

After months of discussions, inspections and appraisals, the foundation purchased the lodge. The foundation’s intent is to donate the lodge to the Grand County Housing Authority for workforce housing. The Grand Foundation has a commitment to help five families impacted by the East Troublesome Fire, thus some of the units in the 18-unit lodge will be earmarked for them. After some alterations, the housing authority will create a plan for the remaining units. 

“We are so pleased to be a part of the solution, being a donation conduit or funder of current inventory and or land is one way the Grand Foundation can help,” said Ledin. “This is a start, even though a small one, to helping the Grand County workforce afford a place to live.”

Although the foundation put in the majority of the funding, other grant donors contributed, including the Grand County Commissioners, Freeport McMoRan and Colorado Housing and Finance Authority.

Ledin said she knows the donation and transfer of the lodge will go smoothly. 

“On behalf of the Grand County Housing Authority we are graciously honored to be collaborating with the Grand Foundation on the new Work Force Housing Property in Grand Lake,” said Sheena Darland, director of the Grand County Housing Authority. ”This property is another step in the right direction towards helping Grand County residents through this housing crisis.”

The Grand Foundation is presently working with the housing authority to repair the current roof and other items to get the lodge ready for some of the units to be occupied. 

The Grand Foundation will continue to seek land and/or infrastructure opportunities for donation.

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