LAKE CRYSTAL, (KEYC) - In response to a need for child care options in Lake Crystal, advocates are looking for $200,000 in state aid to open up a child care center years in the planning.
The Little Lakers Early Learning Center seeks state funding to help renovate the former Crystal Valley Co-op office, for start-up costs, kitchen, playground equipment and more.
“A study done back in 2016 found that we were about 90 to 100 short that many child care slots in Lake Crystal. Since then, we’ve had more childcare family providers retire or get out so the numbers have done nothing but grow and so this is to fill a need in our community that’s been identified,” Little Lakers Early Learning Center Board Member and Treasurer Tom Farrell said.
“People were having to drive their children to other (child care) locations then come back to work and then go get them at night and come back,” Learning Center Board Chair Linda Lieding explained.
Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont) brought up the proposal before lawmakers Wednesday, which could see inclusion in a larger jobs bill later this spring. However, some DFL senators say they would rather see projects like the care center be funded through an infrastructure bill.
Advocates point out the learning center would bring economic growth plus around 24 jobs to the area.
The center will be able to serve up to 84 children. Right now plans are to open the center in the summer.