Vail Children’s Garden of Learning parents nervous about the site’s future | VailDaily.com

Vail Children’s Garden of Learning parents nervous about the site’s future

Town officials are evaluating several sites for workforce housing

VAIL — Day care spots in the Vail are precious. Any talk of changes can make parents nervous.

Town of Vail officials several weeks ago informed parents and staff at the Children’s Garden of Learning that the site is among those being evaluated as possible town-owned properties where workforce housing could be built.

There are no projects on the horizon, but parents of kids at the facility have let Vail Town Council members know they like the Children’s Garden of Learning right where it is.

At the Feb. 4 council meeting, parent Barry Davis told council members that the center’s location and size are both well-suited for working families.

Davis noted that the site — near the Middle Creek apartments — is ideal for parents who work in town. And, he added, the site is good for the kids, with no neighbors and few hazards in the area.

Fellow parent Kabe ErkenBraak said moving the center, even temporarily, could disrupt education at the site. ErkenBraak urged council members “to be in communication with us.”

Other parents urged council members to first consider other options for workforce housing sites.

In a Feb. 5 phone conversation, Vail Town Manager Scott Robson reiterated that there are no current plans for any changes to the preschool site. Robson added that looking at the Children’s Garden of Learning site is a matter of town officials doing “due diligence” in evaluating all possible sites.

Robson acknowledged that parents plan “years in advance” for child care.

Child care, he said, is among “the most emotional and important” decisions parents make for their kids.

Robson said the Children’s Garden of Learning “isn’t going away,” adding that it’s important for the town to look at options to perhaps enhance the services provided there.

Talk about housing, particularly for working families, should go “hand in glove” with thinking about increasing opportunities for child care, he said.

“What we heard (Feb. 3) — and the council and staff couldn’t agree more — is that the parents, the staff and the board want to be kept in the loop,” Robson said. “We’re committed to that.”

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com or 970-748-2930.