As we celebrate Grandparents Day on September 8, I am mindful that all across Colorado grandparents are working hard to give their grandchildren the best start in life.
In my case, I helped care for my two granddaughters as infants and toddlers. Now that they are in school, I continue to offer child care as needed. The extra support I offered early in their lives allowed my daughter to work and provide for her children financially.
In many cases, child-care costs are prohibitive for families or no licensed child care is available. As a result, some parents leave the workforce or leave their children in unlicensed centers.
In Colorado, 51% of people live in a child-care desert — defined as a neighborhood with no child-care options or an area with more than three children for every licensed child-care slot. That number increases significantly in many rural communities.
In honor of Grandparents Day, let's do right by all kids.
Join me in calling on senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet to co-sponsor the Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act. This bipartisan bill would provide competitive federal grants to states like Colorado to support the education, training, and retention of child-care professionals, as well as funds to build and expand child-care facilities.
With this bill, our senators have the power to help create child-care options for children, thereby helping parents and grandparents alike secure the quality care their youngest family members deserve.
Money from Burkey land should go toward parks
Something just occurred to me. The Burkey land was donated to the city, which means that it is part of the city. As such, it will still be within the city limits even after being sold to a private developer. Thus, the city gets to make millions of dollars off the sale and also still gets to collect any tax revenue generated via home and vehicle purchases, sales taxes from whatever businesses are built there, etc. Maybe the city should consider commiting to putting those tax monies toward the construction and upkeep of city parks. That way, at least they sort of follow through on honoring the Burkey family's desire that the land be used as a park.
Invest in infrastructure to continue growth momentum
By now you've heard all the arguments related to School Bond Measure 3A, which will now be 4A on the November ballot. For the record, I am usually opposed to any incremental taxes unless I have a clear line of sight to the benefits of the funding. I am here to tell you, after spending time in Grand Junction High School, it's impossible to argue whether it needs a date with a bulldozer.
I have decided to vote "yes" to approve the school bond measure (old 3A), now 4A. I relied on a few relevant examples to help me see the benefits and come to my conclusion. Specifically, Colorado Mesa University (CMU). Although I don't know the numbers, it's easy to see that CMU's bet on infrastructure has elevated its status within the state as a high-quality university for students and athletes. That elevated status has resulted in growth and a positive impact on our community through added tax dollars, incremental spending at local businesses, and funding for investment in shared space like Las Colonias Park, North Avenue Revitalization, and a low-cost transportation system, to name a few.
Additional examples include the growth of St Mary's and Community hospitals. I am sure that both will attest to the importance of our educational system and infrastructure when recruiting doctors, nurses and administrative staff to support their growth.
There is no doubt that the quality of education within any community plays a significant role for individuals and companies who are considering a move. Quality of education includes the quality of the physical building where our children's learning takes place. As a community we need to take pride in our educational system and invest in the learning environment for our children and grandchildren.
The Grand Valley is experiencing tremendous commercial and residential growth. The obvious next step in continuing that momentum is to invest in the physical infrastructure for our high schools. The individual cost is minimal and, based on what we have seen with CMU, St. Mary's and Community Hospital, all residents of the Grand Valley will reap the benefits in years to come.
With all of this in mind, it's easy for me to see that paying a little more in property tax is a worthwhile investment that will benefit our entire community, not just those with children or grandchildren.