North Bay Children's center for low-income kids at risk of losing its building

A 51-year-old North Bay non-profit, serving low-income kids and their families, says it's at risk of losing its building. 

The Fairfax San Anselmo Children's Center, has been locked in a back-and-forth with its local school district to buy their building. Negotiations between them recently broke down. Ross Valley School District officials, told KTVU in a statement, that an August deadline to buy the property was missed. The district added "this was not the outcome we hoped for, or worked toward, over the past 21 months."

"That deadline was moveable, there was talk that if we’re not complete, we can extend it out." said Heidi Tomsky, executive director of the Fairfax San Anselmo Children's Center. "If we have to leave this area, there is no services for low-income families like ours in the community." 

The Center also submitted an after-deadline offer for the building for around $1.5 million, with further non-cash promises. The district called the offer well-below its proposed price of $3 million. The school board also pointed to a number of structural safety concerns tied to the building, which they said the center needed to ensure would be addressed if the sale went through. 

Tomsky said she recently had a team of architects review the center's building. "Everything that they identified were things that they could address," said Tomsky.

The center said it currently serves more than 100 families with more than 900 on its waiting list. They provide full-day childcare and social services to families they say simply can't afford to go elsewhere.

"For it to be taken away, it would be devastating." said Tyler Snow, among dozens of parents anxious at child pick-up on Friday outside the center. "Childcare is insanely expensive. After Covid, I lost my business. Without this place, I have no idea how we would have maintained our living situation in Marin."

Parents like Maria Alvarado, also said they've been left wondering what’s next.

"We need this place. We really need this place," said Alvarado. "This is the best place for all the kids. My daughter loves this place. She is so happy here."

Tomsky said she holds no animus towards the school district and hopes that they can put the past behind them to get a deal done. She had this message for school district officials.

"Please come back to the table. I think we have an offer that would work for you," said Tomsky.

The Fairfax San Anselmo Children's Center is accepting donations to help offset the cost of purchasing the building here.