School district takes high bid for land lease |

School district takes high bid for land lease

Scott N. Miller
Bret HartmaThe Eagle County School Board voted Wednesday to lease 10 acres of land to G.H. Daniels and Associates. Stevens Home Care, which has been on the property for the last 13 years, will have to move.

EAGLE – In the end, it came down to cash.The Eagle County School Board Wednesday voted to award a new lease for 10 acres of land at Edwards to G.H. Daniels and Associates, a Gypsum-based landscaping company. The vote means that as of June 1 of next year, Stevens Home Care, which has been on the property for 13 years, has to be off the land.The issue of which firm to award a new lease turned emotional over the course of a couple of weeks, and both companies rallied supporters to Wednesday’s meeting.Stevens Home Care owner Mike Stevens and his supporters claimed that his company has a history of being a good tenant, and provided more “in kind” services – work paid for by the company that doesn’t show up in the district’s general fund.”Be sure you’ve done your homework on this,” said Charles Patterson, who works for Stevens. “There are many lives involved in this.”Supporters of the G.H. Daniels’ owner Jody Daniels argued the company would provide the same “in kind” services that Stevens’ firm would. The major difference, they claimed, was the nearly $25,000 per year in additional rent Daniels’ company was ready to pay.

“That $25,000 a year could maybe pay for more teachers or activities,” said Nicole Vincent, one of Daniels’ employees. “Or that $25,000 could make a big difference in a couple of kids’ lives.”The argument for more cash rent ultimately convinced board members Scott Green, Andy Arnold, Mary Ann Stavney and Carri Tedstrom. Board members Louise Funk, Connie Kincaid Strahan and Keith Thompson voted no on the motion to strike a deal with Daniels’ firm.Board members on both sides of the issue worried about possible disruptions at Berry Creek Middle School and, especially, Red Canyon High School while Stevens moved his operation out and Daniels moved his in.”There will be a lot going on,” Green said. “It will have to be managed carefully.”While Daniels has several locations in the valley, Stevens only has the property at Edwards. After the meeting, Stevens said he was disappointed with the board’s decision, but plans to be ready for business at the start of the next landscaping season.”We’re looking at sites in Avon, Edwards and Eagle,” Stevens said. “We’ll open next year with one, if not two sites.”While board members said they didn’t like being put in the position of picking a winner on a bid, Thompson said he was impressed by the turnout on a Wednesday afternoon.”I we’d see this much emotion over educational issues,” he said.

Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or Daily, Vail Colorado

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