Albion Child Care Project
The Town of Albion, in partnership with the Kendallville Day Care Center, and Thrive by 5, are working together to increase the capacity of child care in Noble County. A formal proposal was submitted to the Albion town Council and Albion Redevelopment Commission to use between $500,000 and $750,000 of the town’s surplus TIF (Tax Increment Finance) funds to construct a new child care facility on Albion’s north side. This facility would provide space for up to 150 children, and could be a second location managed by the Kendallville Day Care Center (pending approval of the Center’s board). Additional funding sources, such as grants (OCRA Public Facilities Grant, READI 2.0, Private & Public Foundations), business investments and local donations, will be pursued to demonstrate the support of the community for these much-needed child care seats.
Project details as of 12/21/22
· Thomas Pittman, an attorney who specializes in public finance and municipal law (and is an expert on TIF), has given his support to the project as an accepted use of TIF funds.
· The State Board of Accounts has not yet responded to the Town of Albion’s proposal for the use of TIF funds.
· Upon final approval, the Albion Redevelopment Commission will accept grant money/donations for the project and be the owner of the construction.
· Upon completion of the project (or the end of the bond period), the building will likely be gifted to the Kendallville Day Care Center or another qualified non-profit child care (or leased for $1).
· The town is interested in providing operational support at least temporarily through TIF funds, depending on building costs.
· In the event that the child care provider cannot sustain the business, the building would revert to the Albion Redevelopment Commission.
· Town Manager Jacob Ihrie is reaching out to major industries in and around the TIF district to acquire letters of support for this use of TIF funds.
· The building is expected to be located in the TIF 2 district, which is primarily a shopping/service industry area that includes Central Noble Schools.
Impact to community:
· Data shows that there aren’t enough child care seats in the county for the children and families who need them.
· Infants and toddler seats are needed the most
o It is estimated that there are up to 1,558 infant and toddlers (ages 0-3)
o We only have the capacity to serve about 7% of those in regulated full-time child care providers throughout Noble County (108 seats total)
· This project will help ease the strain on:
o Families by providing the care they need for their children and giving them a choice on the type of child care facility they want for their children
o Employers by increasing the pool of candidates from which to build their workforce
§ Employers have noted that a lack of child care in Noble County has been a barrier to filling their open positions
§ Employers can assist employees with the cost of care through benefits or fees directly to a child care provider
o Economy by creating more jobs and bringing additional revenue into the community
o Early childhood educators who would have an additional choice in employer, which will help them grow in their profession
o High School Students who are interested in ECE would have a training ground to develop more interest in ECE professions.