Kootenay Kids is celebrating the purchase of a new home to enhance to the services they offer in Nelson. Gathered outside the former home of Paul and Megan Osak are the Osaks and Kootenay Kids’ staff and clients.

Kootenay Kids thinks big in Nelson

A local non-profit society bought a large Stanley Street heritage home and plans to offer programming there.

A piece of prime Nelson real estate is off the market with a local non-profit organization purchasing to benefit children and families.

Paul and Megan Osak’s house at 804 Stanley Street now belongs to Kootenay Kids who own and run the nearby Family Place just down the alley at 312 Silica Street.

Executive director Valerie Warmington said the over 2,000 clients served by Kootenay Kids every year will feel at home in the “very comfortable, very home-like” space that’s been “beautifully renovated” by the Osaks.

“We’re really thrilled,” she said. “There will be many, many families who will get to enjoy this lovely space.”

Taking possession on Tuesday, Kootenay Kids ends their search for the perfect house ongoing since 2007 when they realized they needed more space.

Kootenay Kids will hang onto the Family Place, just down the alley. The new building will replace three other rented facilities allowing the 22-plus person staff to collaborate better being in close proximity to each other.

“There are a lot of synergies between the programs and even though Nelson is small, the distance still keeps us working in our little towers rather than working together and integrating our work,” she said.

Kootenay Kids plans on moving into their new digs around October 15 and will have programs up and running by November. Much of the organization’s current programming such as Life After Birth, parenting classes and partnership offerings such as La Leche League will continue to run out of the Family Place. The new building and outside yard, ready for play, will now house physio and occupational therapy programs for special needs children as well as the child care resource and referral services including the popular toy lending library.

The prime location will allow a more visual presence for Kootenay Kids along with making services more accessible to all who use them with only an alley to travel between facilities.

“A lot of our clients use more than one of our services and with everything so close, it’s going to be very easy for them to take advantage of what we offer,” said Warmington. “I can’t stress how important it is for a pregnant mom with a stroller and toddler in hand who’s got to go to this facility and then across town to another, how much easier it will be for her.”

Such a large, well-kept home came with a hefty price tag for the “cash poor” non-profit agency but Warmington explained careful financing allowed them to use equity built up in the Family Place, purchased in 1995, to afford a new property.

“We’re keeping our mortgage payments such that none of our program costs will go up. That was a huge criteria,” she said. “Everyone was concerned about adding a financial burden to the programs we run given the increasing demand we’re seeing for our services in the community in recent years.”

Generosity on behalf of the Osaks also helped manage the purchase price.

“They really went above and beyond in coming to an agreement on price that allowed us to keep our program expenses the same,” Warmington said.

Megan Osak said she’s pleased to see the large house go to such a good organization and is happy the home will remain intact as opposed to split up into apartments.

“It’s a good use for this house. It’s got large rooms and good light,” she said. Added Paul Osak, “It’s a good deal when both parties walk away happy.”

Kootenay Kids realtors Tad and Brady Lake along with Paul Shreenan of RHC’s Property Lab Team also helped with a financial contribution that “just brought us up that little bit,” said Warmington.

“We were so close and I said ‘I just can’t do it… We just can’t afford to spend one more cent.’ Our real-estate agents made a lovely donation.”

The 3,600 square foot Victorian heritage home, with five bedrooms and three bathrooms, was listed for $739,000. Warmington would not say what they settled on for a purchase price.

Kootenay Kids Society offers support, education and childcare services to families with young children in Nelson.