Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Two Henry County child care centers got a major financial boost from the Board of Supervisors on Thursday.
At their meeting, supervisors approved two $250,000 grant disbursement from the county’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds — one to the fledgling Mt. Pleasant Community Childcare Center and one to New London Community Child Care.
“I feel it’s part of economic development that we can provide child care so we can have the workforce that we need for our community,” board Chairman Marc Lindeen said.
Sarah Donnolly, board president of the Mt. Pleasant Community Childcare Center, said that the money will help pay for construction costs.
The Mt. Pleasant Community Childcare Center opened for business on July 6 following an effort, led by the Mt. Pleasant Chamber Alliance, to start a new child care center in Mt. Pleasant.
The center leases the former Family Video building at 304 W. Washington St. but incurred significant expenses renovating the building to be able to house a child care facility.
Michelle Wilka, director of New London Community Child Care, said that the funds will be used for renovations.
“Ours is going toward renovating the center — updating, modernizing, health and safety,” Wilka said.
The New London center has been in operation since 2005 and in its current building since 2007.
“Everything that you see here is what’s been here for 14 years,” Wilka said in July. “One of my goals coming on here is to get us in the financial situation to keep up with the times.
“You see businesses revamping every seven years, we are double that now.”
Tasha Beghtol, director Des Moines, Henry, Louisa and Washington Early Childhood Area, said that the funds provide some relief to the child care centers.
“It’s a weight lifter and an absolute victory,” Beghtol said. “It shows that the county cares about families with young children and what’s happening. It’s been needed for a long time.”
Henry County has been allocated more than $3.8 million in ARP funds. They received half this summer and will receive the other half next year.