Delaware County pledges $250K for daycare infrastructure
Delaware County officials have pledged to provide up to $250,000 in funding to help cover part of the cost of infrastructure for a new daycare center in Muncie. The money represents about half of the cost to run water and sewer lines to the proposed Kaleidoscope Kids Daycare. Economic development officials regard it as an investment for the community, as it will spur the construction of a $3.5 million childcare center.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Brad Bookout, the director of economic affairs for Delaware County, said there is a shortage of licensed daycare centers in the community, making it tough for working parents.
“Parents… want to make sure they’re going to a good place. And so, without a good option, they’re going to stay at home with their kids and not enter the workforce,” said Bookout. “Having good facilities to have those kids in and learn from, and give their parents an opportunity to work in our workforce is vital for economic development.”
Muncie daycare provider Janelle Kramer says the nearly 14,000-square-foot facility will serve up to 180 children when complete. Bookout says the new facility will replace nine home-based daycares currently operated by Kramer, which currently provide care for 120 children. He says demand is there.
“There are about 3,200 [daycare] spots available for children now, but there is a need for 4,000 community wide in Delaware County,” said Bookout.
The new facility will have 10 or more classrooms for children six weeks to six years old as well as after-school care for kids ages six to 12.
“Delaware County is proud to provide help with the infrastructure on this project. The goal is always to provide more available daycare opportunities for local working people. This facility will bring another excellent daycare option for Delaware County,” said Delaware County Redevelopment President and County Commissioner James King.
Bookout says running the infrastructure could attract other businesses to that part of Muncie.
“The bigger point, though, related around that is that it spurs the development of a privately funded $3.5 million daycare center, which is taxable revenue for our county,” said Bookout. “So in addition to providing necessary service, the facility is also growing our tax base at the same time, so it’s a double win for Delaware County.”
Kramer has purchased the property and architectural drawings have been completed, Bookout said.
Kramer said her center would also explore the possibility of a second shift of childcare for parents who work later hours.
“There’s been a great need for this kind of facility in Delaware County for years,” said Commissioners President Shannon Henry. “This is great news for families.”