Skatepark and playground progressing |

Skatepark and playground progressing

Tamara Miller

EDWARDS – Expect to see even more construction in Miller Ranch over the next year. By next summer, Eagle County kids and adults will have a new playground and skatepark, and county officials hope to open a childcare facility by the middle of next year.

The county commissioners approved plans for a 20,000-square-foot skate park, a playground with bathroom, and other projects on the 35-acre Berry Creek recreation area Tuesday. While construction should begin soon – and in some cases, already has – the winter season will likely force a delay, said Rich Cunningham, the county’s facilities management director. The skate park and playground should be finished by July. The Miller Ranch pond already is filled and open to the public. The latest approval allowed for sod and seeding around the pond.So far, the price tag for Miller Ranch’s recreation facilities totals about $3.6 million. The county has already budgeted $1.7 million for the pond, $1 million for the skate park and $225,000 for a playground. The county will have to appropriate money later for the additional $355,000 to finish the pond; $57,500 to bring in water, sewer and electrical lines to the skate park for a bathroom; and an additional $290,000 for a larger playground and 600-square-foot bathroom facility. The cost of the skate park is offset by grants totaling just under $700,000. Crews also are preparing the site for a recreation center the county hopes to build in the near future. Childcare facilityPerhaps even more eagerly anticipated is a childcare facility in Miller Ranch. A recent Eagle County survey showed a significant shortage of available child care spots in area facilities. For example, only 30 percent of children under the age of 2 with both parents working are in child care, forcing some families to rely on flexible work schedules and relatives for help.The commissioners recently selected Shepard Resources, Inc. to design a day-care center, but county officials already have 50 children on a waiting list for the expected 80 spots that will be available once the facility is built.The board also considered pitching in an additional $900,000 for a second floor for the childcare center. The second floor could provide office space for nonprofit groups, a gathering place for senior citizens or other types of activities, said Kathleen Forinash, health and human services director.Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 607, or Colorado

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