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Millions invested incentivizes housing development

Col. Jamaal Mays, 366th Fighter Wing deputy command of support, and his housing team participate in the 2020 Virtual Mountain Home Housing Summit at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Nov. 19, 2020. The event gave an opportunity for developers to learn about the new incentives in place to encourage new construction in Mountain Home to provide better housing options for Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Andrew Kobialka)

Col. Jamaal Mays, 366th Fighter Wing deputy command of support, and his housing team participate in the 2020 Virtual Mountain Home Housing Summit at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Nov. 19, 2020. The event gave an opportunity for developers to learn about the new incentives in place to encourage new construction in Mountain Home to provide better housing options for Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Andrew Kobialka)

A slide from the 2020 Virtual Mountain Home Housing Summit at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Nov. 19, 2020. The presentation informed developers on the incentives to start new construction in the city. (Courtesy photo)

A slide from the 2020 Virtual Mountain Home Housing Summit at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Nov. 19, 2020. The presentation informed developers on the incentives to start new construction in the city. (Courtesy photo)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Gunfighter leadership, along with a team of Airmen held a virtual housing summit, Nov. 19, 2020, with over 40 participants ranging from Mountain Home city planners to regional housing developers.

Over the last year, the 366th Fighter Wing and the City of Mountain Home have heavily invested into the community, infrastructure and building codes to incentivize private developers to build in Elmore County.

Mountain Home AFB and the State of Idaho have invested $70 million into a water project that will independently provide water to the base. For developers, this is great news considering long term sustainability of steady water has been a cause for hesitation in the past. The base has also poured millions into new dorms and upgrading the Child Development Center and the 366th Medical Treatment Facility.

Collectively, Mountain Home AFB has a total economic impact of $760 million and creates 6,697 jobs.

Additionally, Brock Cherry, the City of Mountain Home community development director, has worked over the last year to make changes to the city building codes to further encourage urban development.

One of these changes includes loosening building requirements to increase the number of apartments, townhomes, and other rental properties that are allowed to be built. This strays away from the previously prioritized single family houses for sale. More rental options better fit the needs of young Airmen living in Mountain Home.

After those changes, focus shifted to the downtown area. It was determined that there’s a surplus of parking, so now it is no longer required to build off-street parking for new construction and there has been an increase in the build height limit from 45 feet to 55 feet.

Finally, new fiber optic internet is in the future of Mountain Home.

“With telework becoming more prominent, we know that having great internet opens up Mountain Home to a whole new segment of the population that can now consider this city as their potential new home,” Cherry said.

These were just a few of the talking points during the virtual housing summit.

“I want to give the developing community the ability to ask questions and know they have a city planning team that is working with and for them,” Cherry said.

The virtual housing summit was a success. Conversations are still ongoing, but Mountain Home alongside the Gunfighters will continue to make strides in solving the housing deficit.

“Airmen and families give a lot to our country and it’s important to us that they are taken care of,” said Col. Jamaal Mays, 366th Fighter Wing deputy commander of support. “We know housing is a challenge, and that’s why we have been working closely with local government and developers to describe our Airmen and their families housing needs. Special thanks to our local partners for developing significant economic incentives to promote interest in building quality and affordable housing options for our Gunfighter family. We hear you and we are working day-in and day-out to find a workable solution.”

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