The Board of Directors of the Valley Housing Fund is in strong support of the Whetstone Community Housing project. The housing shortage in the Gunnison Valley has escalated to a crisis point over the past several years, placing an unsustainable strain on local workers, business owners, longtime community members, and newcomers alike. The significant shortage in housing has negative impacts on our local economy and on the mental health of our residents. With 80% of the homes reserved for households with local workers, the Whetstone Project is poised to significantly improve housing availability.
Riverland is a growing commercial district with a large number of daily commuters. By placing housing in this area, it provides opportunities for local workers to live close to where they work, a longstanding community value. It is also close to existing public transportation, further adding to the site’s amenities.
The Whetstone Community Housing Project will ease the strain on families and individuals continuously experiencing housing insecurity. It is critical that we keep teachers, emergency responders, trades workers, volunteers, medical professionals, and employees across all industries from moving out of the Valley and taking their skills with them.
The Valley Housing Fund supports this effort to substantially increase local affordable and attainable workforce housing in Gunnison County. The VHF Board of Directors will remain actively engaged as this project moves forward, supporting affordable housing in Gunnison Valley while ensuring the overall project meets our community’s environmental and public transportation/access expectations.
In 2019, Gunnison County purchased a 13-acre parcel of land in the north valley with the intent of developing an affordable and workforce housing neighborhood. The “Whetstone Parcel” is located approximately three miles south of the Town of Crested Butte, on the west side of Highway 135 adjacent to the Riverland Industrial Park.
The project will provide 231 affordable and essential housing units for workers of the Gunnison Valley and relies on three guiding principles:
- Supporting the local economy by providing reliable housing for its workers
- Providing housing security for community members who are navigating difficult situations like overcrowding, rising rents, frequent moves, and low quality rentals
- Supporting environmental goals by decreasing commuting times and implementing modern construction techniques
The project is in the “sketch plan” conceptual stage, which means it must be approved by the Gunnison County Board of Commissioners before a more detailed design can be developed. More information about the project can be accessed at https://whetstonehousing.weebly.com/.