Routt County contributes $35K to Hayden Center renovations |

Routt County contributes $35K to Hayden Center renovations

Routt County will contribute $35,000 to support renovations at the Hayden Center, which hopes to start asbestos mitigation in July. Matt Mendisco, Hayden’s town manager, said the Hayden Center will be a central hub for the town in the future and is an integral part of master planning going forward. (Photo by Dylan Anderson)

Routt County will give the town of Hayden $35,000 to support construction on the Hayden Center, which has an overall price tag of $6.5 million to $7 million.

The contribution from the county, approved by the Routt County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, is specifically for construction on the space to be used by the nonprofit child care provider Totally Kids, according to Hayden Town Manager Matt Mendisco.

Currently, Totally Kids offers after-school care and summer programming but will be expanding to offer infant, toddler and preschool care when construction is complete. The group will occupy one of the building’s three wings.

“That essentially means they are going to go from being able to take around 25 to 30 kids a day for their after school and summer program to about 75 kids,” Mendisco said.

Hayden officials first approached county commissioners in December seeking a $100,000 contribution, which was met with general support but hesitation on that size of a contribution. In presenting the request Tuesday, Mendisco said the $35,000 contribution from the county had been agreed upon prior to the meeting.

“I definitely appreciate the commitment to expanding infant and toddler capacity; obviously, that is a critical need,” Commissioner Beth Melton said. “As a three-year resident of Hayden, I would have loved to have this within walking distance from my house.”

Asbestos removal for the building is scheduled for July, with construction on the remodel’s $3 million first phase beginning in August, Mendisco said.

The south side of the center’s roof will receive a solar mounted array, part of a regional effort to install more solar energy production in Northwest Colorado.

Mendisco said Hayden has revamped its entire master plan to incorporate the Hayden Center, reimagining what is defined as its downtown, extending it all the way to Sixth Street.

“This community center is already, for our community, probably going to act as the central hub for our community,” Mendisco said. “It is going to anchor our downtown.”

A majority of the funding for the renovations come from a ballot initiative approved by Hayden voters last November. The measure increased the town’s sales tax by 1 cent, which is expected to raise about $1.7 million.

Hayden just received a roughly $190,000 grant from the Buell Foundation that will also support child care space renovation, and Mendisco said they have secured other grants and continue to apply for more.

The Hayden Center has already surpassed membership goals for the first year, including two memberships from Steamboat Springs residents.

County Finance Director Dan Strnad laughed when asked whether the county would be able to fund the request, saying it would easily be able to cover the cost from additional auto use tax revenue. Auto sales have increased during the pandemic, and the county saw much higher revenues from the tax than anticipated.

“I personally take a lot of pride when I look at (the Hayden Center), realizing that is something that could have been torn down, gone away and the community deprived of this space,” said Commissioner Tim Redmond, who previously served as mayor of Hayden. “I am really excited to see how the community is coalescing around that and taking ownership of that.”

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