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Gallatin County looking for partners in developing land behind rest home

Housing Still .jpg
Posted at 10:23 AM, Mar 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-07 12:23:02-05

“The sticker shock is, you know, it's right up there with Metro Portland and with Metro Seattle,” said Gallatin County employee, Georgene Lenon.

Lenon is like many employees who moved to the valley for work but had trouble finding housing.

“The first two we were at least four on the list down from being accepted because the rentals were in such demand,” said Lenon.

Gallatin County, like many employers in town, is having trouble bringing and keeping employees due to the high cost of living and the low supply of places to live.

“Recruiting employees and retaining employees that we currently have with the housing challenges that they meet,” said Gallatin County Commissioner Scott MacFarlane.

So, the county is looking to develop a property they own behind the rest home.

“We're really looking for a partner that can help us understand how to maximize the value and maximize the community return out of that,” said MacFarlane.

The goal for the county is to develop the land into housing and daycare that public employees and community members can take advantage of.

“Indirectly we're bringing the value of the land and we expect to get our needs taken care of some other community partners' needs taken care of,” said MacFarlane.

Gallatin County is embarking on this journey without many frameworks to work with.

“We’re on our own on this, there's not really a template for this. Governments don't make very good landlords,” said MacFarlane.

But what they do know is they'd be providing a solution to the housing problem that the valley has faced for years.

“All we really know is that we are prioritizing retention of the land. We want to keep the land in public ownership. We want to have our needs met for a number of units,” said MacFarlane.

It will still take time before anything is built on the property as the county is still in the beginning phases of this development. 

“We don't expect to probably be actually doing the first parts of the site work there for at least another year,” said MacFarlane.

While Lenon says there were hurdles moving here, she doesn’t look back.

“This home, it has been home,” says Lenon