Aspen asked to support effort to increase, improve child care |

Aspen asked to support effort to increase, improve child care

Aaron Hedge
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Aspen child care advocates asked the City Council at its work session Tuesday night to support an initiative that would better the community’s child care infrastructure.

The proposal stems from a study conducted late last year that suggests Aspen business representatives and community members recognize a need for more daycare services.

The three council members at the meeting commended the project, but said they needed more information before throwing their support behind it.

“This is one of those projects – maybe not the sexiest – but one that makes the community a better place,” Councilman Steve Skadron told Shirley Ritter, the director of Kids First and the pioneer of the initiative.

A possible venue for the increased city space is the area proposed for the second phase of the Burlingame Ranch development.

Existing child care resources like the Yellow Brick School in Aspen and the Little Red Schoolhouse in Snowmass Village are also possible candidates that could be expanded to accommodate the effort.

Even though the economic slump might spark skepticism about city spending, the need for more child care capacity is just as dire as ever because birth rates are steadily increasing, Ritter told the council.

Councilman Torre said he needed more time to decide whether he would approve the initiative, but expressed optimism as discussions for the Burlingame project heat up.

“It’ll get a little clearer all by itself as we move on,” he said.

Mayor Mick Ireland was home nursing wounds from a nasty bicycle accident last week, and Councilman Dwayne Romero was out of town.

If the effort is approved, representatives of the project, who include city employees Barry Crook and Sally Spaulding, will pursue grants to implement the increased space, determine which existing programs need to be expanded and create ways to increase efficiency for existing programs.

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