Avon donates another $25K to senior center
AVON — The town of Vail has issued a challenge to other Eagle County municipalities: Raise $50,000 and they’ll match it.
The challenge was issued as a result of another challenge — construction costs. With the cost of building materials increasing on a daily basis, the Castle Peak Senior Care Community, currently under construction in Eagle Ranch, was among the hardest hit. The cost of that 64-bed senior center jumped from $22.7 million to $24.9 million, leaving Augustana Care, the nonprofit that is building the facility, scrambling to come up with another $2.2 million.
The USDA, which was already contributing about half the cost of the constitution, threw in another half a million as a result of the increase. Eagle County contributed $645,000. Individuals offered another $100,000, and the town of Vail said that if the other municipalities in Eagle County could combine to contribute $50,000, then Vail will match that amount.
Eagle threw in $15,000, Minturn $5,000. Gypsum, currently faced with a financial shortfall, said it couldn’t contribute at the moment but would like to help once it get the budget under control.
Avon town staff recommended the council contribute $15,000 out of its affordable housing budget. The Town Council responded by donating $25,000 out of the general fund.
Avon Councilman Buz Reynolds led the charge.
“This is an investment in our community, as we start to get older and older this is something that’s going to be a great asset for the people who are in need of this,” Reynolds said.
“Wow,” responded longtime local Merv Lapin, who presented the proposal on behalf of the Castle Peak Senior Care Community. “Thanks.”
Edwards resident John Shipp thanked the council for its contribution.
“I plan on being a resident of this county for a long, long time,” Shipp said. “I’m glad you guys approved help for our seniors, because some day I’ll be a senior in this county.”
The WEITZ CO. TAKES A HIT
Before the shortfall was identified, Avon had already contributed $200,000 to the project. Lapin said as costs began to skyrocket, the builders themselves helped keep the total price tag from ballooning even more.
“There was a 25 percent shortfall originally, but (The Weitz Co.) and the subcontractors each took hits on their fees, and it ended up being an 11 percent total increase rather than the 25 percent that it initially was,” Lapin said.
With the additional $25,000 from Avon, Gypsum or another town must now contribute $5,000 to reach the $50,000 needed to meet Vail’s challenge. Lapin said it may be nine months to a year before they know if Gypsum is able to contribute more money to the project.
“Ideally, it would be great if Avon would be willing to make up the difference if Gypsum doesn’t,” he said.
52 ALREADY SIGNED UP
The building is expected to be occupied by July. Thus far, Augustana has 52 people signed up for the 64 available beds. While there is no priority for Eagle County residents (with $12 million coming from the USDA, local priority can’t be stipulated), all of the 52 seniors who have signed up have ties to Eagle County. Lapin said half of the people live in Eagle and Gypsum and the other half are coming from upvalley. A lot of them are parents of people who live here.
“We have not had one single request from someone who is not associated either with people who live here now, as relatives, or live here and want to take advantage of the facility,” Lapin said.
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A Nov. 30 to Governor Polis and the Eagle County Commissioners from Beaver Creek Resorts Company – as well as the towns of Vail, Avon, Eagle and Minturn – requests a variance program which would allow businesses to remain open.