Housing, infrastructure project awarded $1.9 million


The Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) announced a More Housing Now grant award on March 19 of $1,919,200 to Archuleta County for infrastructure improvements in the Chris Mountain II and Trails subdivisions in the Pagosa Lakes area. 

These funds will pay to upgrade existing roads, along with bringing in electric and broadband utilities, allowing for homes to be built on lots for the first time since the subdivisions were platted in the 1970s. 

DOLA Executive Director Maria De Cambra stated, “Competition for these grants was intense and highly competitive.” 

The county’s success, she noted, was “… due to local partnerships, incentives, and other support for affordable housing projects in the community.”

Local partnerships included the county, Town of Pagosa Springs, Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation (PSCDC), Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association (PLPOA), Habitat for Humanity of Archuleta County, Visionary Broadband, the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce and La Plata Electric Association.

The PSCDC initiated the More Housing Now grant in November 2023 with Community Grants Manager Beth Lamberson, Executive Director Emily Lashbrooke and Administrative Manager Kathleen “Kat” McFadden. 

DOLA follow-up meetings took place with County Development Director Pam Flowers. 

Lashbrooke made an in-person presentation to the DOLA grants review committee on Feb. 29 in Manitou Springs with support from Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners chair Veronica Medina and Commissioner Warren Brown. Commissioner Ronnie Maez joined remotely. County Manager Derek Woodman, Flowers, Habitat Executive Director Leah Ballard, Town Manager David Harris and PLPOA General Manager Allen Roth attended. Visionary Broadband’s Brian Shepherd, vice president of grant engagement, was also present. 

At the meeting the review committee voted to send the full grant forward for approval.

“The effort to secure this grant shows just what this community and its leaders can do when we are all rowing the boat in the same direction,” said Flowers. “We listened to dozens of other communities present their projects seeking these same funds. It was evident that the requests were far greater than the funds available. I am convinced it was our cooperative approach with such broad support that pushed us across the finish line.”

More Housing Now grants come from the DOLA Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Fund (EIAF). 

The EIAF was created to assist political subdivisions that are socially and/or economically impacted by the development, processing, or energy conversion of minerals and mineral fuels. 

The county and the PSCDC recognized the opportunity to secure EIAF funding to rebuild a mile of failed gravel roadway and install electrical and broadband utilities. 

The county has conveyed ownership of 35 lots to the PSCDC and 10 to Habitat for workforce housing. With this grant, workforce housing in Chris Mountain II and Trails, takes a major step forward to provide home ownership for households earning 60 to 100 percent of the area median income.

“This is a fine example of how when we can collaborate collectively on a project it produces an outstanding outcome,” commented Woodman.