GARDINER — The Gardiner community may be growing soon as the HRDC plans to build new long-term housing along Jardine Road.
Pat Baltzley, a Gardiner trustee, says dwindling school enrollment numbers highlight the struggle residents are facing to live in Gardiner.
"Our enrollment right now is 137. When I was first on the board in 2013 it was 250," Baltzley says.
"It’s really challenging for young families to stay in the community that want the opportunity for a really secure long-term rental or the opportunity to purchase," explains HRDC Community Development Director Lila Fleishman.
Baltzley says, "There are a lot of vacation rentals and short-term rentals, which is a part of our economy so we like that, but we are also trying to figure out how to balance housing so that we can have the opportunity for people to build those roots and start a family."
HRDC understands this struggle. That’s why when the rare opportunity to purchase land in Gardiner arose, the non-profit jumped at the chance. They’re now hoping to construct at least 40 units on the 4.6 acres of land on Jardine Road.
"Ideally, we’d be able to do a mix of rental housing, as well as community land trust home ownership," says Fleishman.
Park County has contributed $300,000 in ARPA grant funds to the project, and HRDC hopes to use this money to begin construction by the summer of 2024, although more funding is needed.
"The HRDC Jardine project would give people the opportunity to start out, build some equity, and then that gives them the ability to build actual roots," Baltzley says.