(Las Animas, CO) -- Donning a bright orange hard hat, Southeast Colorado Enterprise Development Inc, Senior planner Michael Yerman told a crowd of about 60 that the nearly impossible had been accomplished. At the groundbreaking ceremony for Southeast Colorado Workforce Housing he said that 16 local government entities worked together and made developing the housing their number one priority for the last 11 months.
Yerman further explained that it was blood, sweat and tears to get through all of the process to get it to go but once they did, it took off.
"We got 16 local governments to sign MOUs in two months, that's incredible, that that shows you how local government gets things done."
A little on the background of how it came together so quickly. According to the news release on the project.
Boards of county commissioners and municipal governments were contacted concerning the lack of workforce housing and possible solutions. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was a huge part of that solution. Municipalities and counties pledged a percentage of their ARPA funding to the developing plan to build affordable housing across the region.
Bywater Development, LLC, who had experience in developing workforce housing, was awarded the contract to complete the project.
Collectively, sixteen municipal governments, six boards of county commissioners, two nonprofits and a builder found common ground to build 83 new homes – 17 single family homes and 33 duplexes, owned by 4Points Funding, who specializes in workforce development projects located in Opportunity Zones.
At Wednesday's groundbreaking ceremony in Las Animas the following people spoke:
Stephanie Gonzales, Executive Director, SECED; Michael Yerman, Senior Planner, SCEDD; Joel Wisian, Developer, High Prairie Homes; Stephanie Copeland, Partner, 4Points Funding; Fallon Miller, Department of Local Affairs, Representative; Rod Pelton, State Representative (D64); Kari Linker, Regional Director, Senator Hickenlooper; Renee Martinez, Regional Representative, Senator Bennet; Tom Grasmick, Board Chair, SECED; and Amanda Leck, Executive Director, Bent County Development Foundation.
Michael Yerman explains the process in this short video:
(All photos and videos are property of Colorado News Your Way and may only be used with permission and credit)