Funding of $1.6 million for the creation of the Great Bend daycare center

By COLE REIF
Big bend pole

How do you fund a $1.6 million daycare? Great Bend’s economic development appears to be on track after Monday’s joint meeting between Great Bend City Council and the Barton County Commission.

Economic Development raised more than $435,000 for the project and asked the Barton County Commission to match the money raised. This would bring the total funds to $870,000, and then Economic Development would apply for a matching grant to double that figure again.

Being asked to contribute over $400,000, the commission wanted to ask the town of Great Bend to help with the funding since the new daycare will be located in Great Bend. Council member Jolene Biggs mentioned that she did not feel comfortable with the city providing more funding.

“The city received just over $2 million in ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds, and the city council approved to donate $1 million to the loft project,” Biggs said. “Right now, there are still many projects in the city that need help, and I personally struggle to get more than 50% out of them so they can use them to their own advantage.”

Great Bend also provided economic development with $100,000 in additional funding for the 2022 budget, with the majority of the amount going towards the salary of the new daycare director.

GLMV Architecture did the design work for the daycare and now Economic Development is waiting for funding.

After hearing Biggs’ comment, commissioner Jennifer Schartz seemed to be on board with helping Eco Devo fund the facility.

“We (Barton Co. Commission) all agreed that we were very interested in the new daycare,” Schartz said. “That was before I realized Economic Development hadn’t even asked the city. I’d be remiss if we didn’t at least ask. I’m going to take away all other concerns because I think we’re working together to the same and we can make it happen.”

A child care task force studied a model child care center in Garden City to possibly make the Great Bend facility sustainable. Earlier this year, it was reported that the daycare would likely house no more than 59 children.

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