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Grants support child care projects in Fort Dodge

Meeting the need must remain a priority

As the Fort Dodge community continues to struggle with a shortage of available child care openings, it received some welcome news recently. Iowa Workforce Development has awarded more than $1 million in grants to support a couple of local child care projects.

Those grants won’t close the needs gap in a community in which there are 1,743 available spaces in child care programs but more than 4,600 kids needing such care. One of the grants will help an existing child care center relocate, thus staying in business and preventing the child care crunch from getting worse. The other grant will help an existing child care provider expand and add 56 more spaces for kids.

Childcare Discovery Center received $734,837 to help its effort to build a new facility near 14th Avenue North and 32nd Street. It has been located for decades in a strip mall at 2329 First Ave. S. which was bought last year and appears likely to be demolished. The new building will consist of 16,400 square feet on one level. It will serve up to 250 children.

Community Early Childhood Center, 1315 S. 24th St., received a $330,600 grant to pay for equipment and furnishings needed for an addition. Plans call for adding four rooms to the existing building.

It is good to see local efforts being made to preserve our existing child care capacity and add to it.

We’re also pleased that officials of Iowa Workforce Development have seen the need in our community and are making some grant money available to help.

Despite these signs of progress, quality child care remains an urgent need and must remain a priority for local leaders.

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