Belmond and Wright County Economic Development have been working feverishly to answer a tremendous need in the area. Child care has become one of the most pressing issues facing the city and the county. In the past week, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds awarded nearly $37 million in Child Care grants to projects that will create nearly 5,200 new child care slots across Iowa. She was excited about awarding this substantial amount of money because in her words, it will help alleviate the burden of finding child care for families and give more Iowans the opportunity to return to the workforce while create a lasting impact on children, parents, and communities all throughout the state.
Colts Corner in Belmond was one of the recipients of an award totaling $376,945. The need for childcare is critical in Belmond, with an estimated shortage of 423 childcare spaces within the Belmond-Klemme Community School District, and only enough licensed childcare slots to serve 19% of the children ages 0-11 in Belmond. In addition, several daycares have closed in the last year making the shortage even greater. Wright County Economic Development Director Darrell Steven Carlyle was excited about the Governor’s award but also understands that this is a process towards filling the need.
In order to accommodate the number of children who will be attending Colts Corner Child Care, the school district, city, and county found a perfect site.
The grant itself is in two parts. The Investment by Iowans through the Child Care Challenge (IICC) awarded $126,945 of the award and the Child Care Challenge Grant (CCC) awarded $250,000. According to Carlyle, this will significantly help, but does not meet the entire project cost.
The city and the county have gotten behind the initiative to get this day care facility built and ready to go. They are seeing parents and guardians take extra steps to get into local day care services.
Dr. Brady Arnold is the President of the Colts Corner Board of Directors. She is very passionate about the day care program and the future facility according to Carlyle.
Carlyle firmly believes that with the addition of the large child care program and facility in Belmond, business and industry may be more enticed to relocate there. This would require obviously more housing which the city is engaged in developing. With large industry such as meat packing already to the south and the potential for area growth, Carlyle believes that it is a must to tackle these projects right now.