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  • Writer's pictureChildcare Connections

FD City Council supports day care expansion plan

Faced with an ongoing shortage of available day care in the community, the Fort Dodge City Council moved on Monday to help finance a planned expansion of the Community Early Childhood Center.

Leaders of that facility at 1314 S. 24th St. plan to expand to accommodate 56 more children. The necessary construction is estimated to cost $1,140,200.

The money available for the project so far includes: • $600,000 from a Community Development Block Grant. • $250,000 in an interim loan from the city government. • $75,200 from a private loan. • $15,000 from a Linking Families and Communities grant.

An $800,000 Community Development Block Grant had been sought for the project, Vickie Reeck, the city’s community and economic development manager, wrote in a report to the council. Because a $600,000 grant was awarded, there is a shortfall of $200,000 in project finances.

The council on Monday moved to fill that gap in the financing by increasing its interim loan by $200,000 for a total of $450,000.

The Community Early Childhood Center is required to pay back that money by June 1, 2023. On Monday, the council unanimously passed a series of measures to make the increased loan amount possible. The council approved new agreements with the childhood center, OK’d a contract with the Iowa Economic Development Authority to receive the Community Development Block Grant and retained MIDAS Council of Governments to administer the grant.

There was no discussion about any of those items during the meeting, which was conducted electronically.

The need for additional daycare availability was identified in a 2017 Child Care Feasibility Report, which showed about 3,200 local kids needing child care with a little more than 1,600 available spaces in Fort Dodge programs.

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