Vail, Children’s Garden of Learning near agreement on temporary home
The Children's Garden has to move out of its current home by Sept. 15, 2021
The Children’s Garden of Learning next year will move into renovated space that now holds the Vail Community Development Department.
The town of Vail owns the property occupied by the current Children’s Garden. But that land is being eyed for workforce housing. To meet the timeline of having housing on the site by November of 2022, the Children’s Garden has to move by Sept. 15, 2021.
Town officials and the Children’s Garden board have been talking for the past few months about a permanent home for the facility. But that permanent home site hasn’t been selected yet, leaving no time to vacate the current site with no interruption in service.
That’s why a temporary home is needed.
The Vail Town Council on Tuesday approved a memorandum of understanding with the Children’s Garden. That non-binding document lays out some of the details of the move.
The Children’s Garden of Learning Board of Directors is expected to sign the document within the next couple of weeks, pending resolution of a few details.
Children’s Garden attorney Sarah Baker said the deal is “99% there.” The main detail to work out is the location of the temporary home, where the Children’s Garden could be for as long as five years.
Vail Town Manager Scott Robson said the Community Development building — the town’s post office many years ago — is the most likely site for the temporary home.
“It’s not 100% (certain), but all arrows point in that direction,” Robson said.
But, Robson added, the town still needs to finalize some details regarding costs and the time needed to do necessary renovation work. That timeline will be tight, since the space has to be redesigned, the application has to be shepherded through the Vail Planning and Environmental Commission and Vail Design Review Board and a contractor hired.
But, Baker said, the agreement as drafted “we don’t have certainty” about the site.
Another detail is a guarantee from the town that the facility will only have to move to one temporary home before a permanent home is constructed.
A permanent site is still under consideration, although the leading candidate so far is adding a third floor to the Vail Gymnastics Center, just east of Red Sandstone Elementary School.
Once the temporary site is finalized, Robson said the facility will be able to accommodate the Children’s Garden’s current enrollment of 57 children.
In the interim, though, the biggest issue is continuing Children’s Garden services without interruption.
Robson said getting everything done in just more than a year is a “high hurdle.” But, he added, “It’s a hurdle we can clear.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at email@example.com.
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