Watauga EDC Approved To Allocate Funds To Watauga Community Housing Trust

Posted By: Joe Furman Chamber News,

The Watauga Economic Development Commission has pledged $10,000 to the Watauga Community Housing Trust First Home Fund for purchase of a home in Boone’s Junaluska Community.

A recommendation to allocate funds from the Watauga County Economic Development Capital Reserve account came from discussion by the Watauga EDC at its recent meeting, held June 15th in Beech Mountain. Joe Furman, Director of Economic Development for the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce presented the recommendation and request to the Watauga County Board of Commissioners during their regularly scheduled meeting June 20th.  The request was based on affordable housing being listed as the Watauga EDC’s top priority during a strategic planning session in the Spring of 2023. After discussion, the allocation was approved by the Watauga County Board of Commissioners by unanimous vote.

The Watauga Community Housing Trust will use funds from its First Home Fund to go toward the purchase of a home in the historic Junaluska Community near Downtown Boone. After repairs are made to the home, the Watauga Community Housing Trust will resell the structure while retaining the land. This method helps keep the house in the affordable range. A full list of project details can be found on the Watauga Community Housing Trust website.

“In April, the Watauga EDC established affordable housing as the group’s top priority,” said Furman. “Making this pledge is a small step in accordance with those objectives. We are excited to see the progress the Watauga Community Housing Trust has made on this fundraising effort and looking forward to the project getting started in the near future.”

At its June 15th meeting, the Watauga EDC also heard a presentation from Edward Hinson, Chief Marketing & Sales Officer for Skyline/Skybest. He presented information about the company, the official fiber connectivity maps, and the current partnership with Blue Ridge Energy to provide new fiber broadband in rural Watauga County. Upon completion, targeted by December 2024, fiber will be available to 95% of the homes in Watauga County, which will rank among the top 5 counties in North Carolina for fiber connectivity.

The Watauga EDC’s next meeting will be held Friday, July 21st, from 1-2:30PM at the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce office, located at 579 Greenway Rd, Suite 101, in Boone. NC House District 93 representative Ray Pickett will be the featured guest at the meeting, and the public is welcome to attend.

For additional information, please contact Joe Furman by email at joe@boonechamber.com or by phone at 828-264-3082.