A Fort Dodge daycare business plans to build a new facility on the city’s northeast side.
The City Council on Monday took some preliminary steps that would enable the local government to reimburse ChildCare Discovery Center for up to $600,000 of its cost for the new site.
ChildCare Discovery Center is now located at 2329 First Ave. S. It is in a strip mall that was bought last year by Nestle Purina PetCare, which has a plant immediately to the south.
Faced with the necessity of having to move, David and Tammy McNeil, the owners of the business, have picked a site near 14th Avenue North and 32nd Street as the location for a new building.
Their plan calls for a 16,400 -square-foot, one-story building.
The business is having to move at a time when the community has a shortage of openings for children in need of daycare.
Officials have described Fort Dodge as a child care desert, which means there are three or more children for every available child care space.
“If we lose the number of available spaces for kids, we’re at a further deficit,” Mayor Matt Bemrich said after the council meeting Monday evening. “To me, it’s a smart project for the city to help them.”
To help the daycare center project, the council added the new site to the urban renewal district. That move makes it possible to use tax increment financing to support the project.
Tax increment financing (TIF) occurs when increased property tax revenue from a designated area is set aside to be reinvested in that area.
The council also approved the first reading of a measure that would actually allow the use of TIF for the project. It must be approved two more times to become law.
A development agreement between the city and ChildCare Discovery Center will come before the council on March 22.
Bemrich said the proposed agreement would have the city use TIF to reimburse the business for up to $600,000 of its expenses. That money would be paid over a number of years after the new facility is completed.