Plan for Schmidt property in Edwards includes new pedestrian connectivity, mental health and education spaces
Vision for 2.46-acre site to be unveiled at Oct. 17 open house
A big vision for a small lot on the Eagle River in Edwards will be unveiled at an Oct. 17 open house, where tours of the 2.46-acre property and descriptions of the new plan will be offered.
The event will take place from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on the property, located on Edwards Access Road and the Eagle River at the Alpine Bank Building next to Fiesta’s and Marko’s Pizza.
The project, titled the Dandelion Farm, will seek to fill various area needs from something as simple as a walking path between the Edwards access road and the Eagle River Preserve, to the more complicated problems of providing spaces for mental health, education and wellness programs to operate.
Among the education goals is to provide a rent-free space to a preschool, something the project’s principal members — Patricia Esperon and Joe Tomasic — have identified as a key need in the community. Community gardens, horticultural therapy greenhouses and a community kitchen are also envisioned for the property.
The project will aim to achieve these objectives and operate as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit the same way many locals in the valley achieve their goals in the outdoors while not making much profit — by working nights and weekends. The preschool will be converted to a wedding venue on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The property contains nearly 7,000 feet of commercial space that currently houses community nonprofits, including the Community Pantry and My Future Pathways. Esperon and Tomasic said the Dandelion Farm intends to partner with these entities and provide them with an affordable long-term lease.
The Dandelion Farm is currently under contract to purchase the property and is currently raising funds to see the big vision through.
Schmidt family legacy
The Dandelion Farm’s effort would not be possible without the support of the Fritz and Cecilia Schmidt family.
Fritz Schmidt immigrated to the U.S. from Germany, and Cecilia immigrated to the U.S. from Ecuador. They met in New York and came out to Vail to visit a friend in the 1960s “and never looked back,” said their son-in-law, Mark O’Sullivan.
O’Sullivan has been married to Fritz and Cecilia’s daughter Ingrid for 29 years. He’s helping with the Dandelion Farm project, which he says the family strongly supports. The family does not want to see development occur along the river, which the property abuts to the north.
“This was the best proposal,” O’Sullivan said. “It’s going to be a win-win for the whole county, because it’s not going to be bulldozed into 30 new units.”
O’Sullivan’s wife Ingrid grew up on the property, swimming in a nearby irrigation canal which once ran through the area. Fritz and Cecilia purchased it in 1971. Their former home will be gutted and remodeled to house the preschool and wedding venue, but the outside will look essentially the same, O’Sullivan said.
The most significant geological feature in the area, the Eagle River, “will be able to speak for itself, just like rivers do all over the world,” O’Sullivan said.
O’Sullivan said he sees the Dandelion Farm’s conversion of the property into a public space as a proper way to share Fritz and Cecilia’s legacy with the community.
“This will be Fritz and Cecilia Schmidt story,” he said.
RSVP at: EventCreate.com/e/CommunityOpenHouse