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Worthington City Council hears presentation on childcare needs

The council also approved the purchase of lighting and rigging equipment for Memorial Auditorium during its Aug. 8 meeting.

City of Worthington
Worthington City Hall (Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)
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WORTHINGTON — Community and Economic Development Associates, retained by Nobles County to investigate opportunities to develop child care facilities in the area, presented a report to the Worthington City Council during its Monday night meeting.

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“... there’s no question that if we can chip away at this (child care) issue, it will help ease the burden of the workforce shortage.”

Their report comes on the heels of a 2021 needs assessment , conducted by the nonprofit organization First Children’s Finance, which found a considerable shortage of childcare options in and around Worthington.

Joshua Schuetz, project manager for CEDA, broke down the goal of the project into three main parts: expanding childcare capacity, supporting existing providers, and focusing on community education.

“Everyone deserves access to quality childcare,” Schuetz said, emphasizing that part of CEDA’s work is to establish connections within the community. “We want to make sure that there’s access in the sense of there being slots available and that people know about what resources there are and are able to access those resources.”

While ideas like creating a childcare fund to help current providers with small expenses, and incentivizing students to go into the field were noted as possibilities to help close the childcare gap, Schuetz said that for now, a lot of focus has been on establishing a taskforce to continue tackling the problem after CEDA’s work at the government level is completed. Making contacts within the community and establishing a network with employers like JBS and different community organizations who can help identify strengths, weaknesses and possible solutions are also a big part of their efforts.

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Councilman Chad Cummings said having quantifiable evidence of what the current gaps are and how those shortages come about would be a huge benefit for addressing those issues, particularly in regard to infant care.

“We’re still in that early stage of trying to figure out how we can get it scalable and sustainable,” Schuetz explained, stating that CEDA has plans to speak with First Children’s Finance as part of its investigation and continue with community outreach. “If we can’t sustain the solution … the problem is going to crop up again in 10 years and that's not what we want.”

Council approves lighting purchase
Also on Monday, the council approved a request to purchase lighting and rigging equipment for Memorial Auditorium from the Luverne School District.

The equipment, purchased by the Luverne school for use in its previous Performing Arts Auditorium but not used in their new space, includes items such as curtain rails, lights and accessories, an electric curtain opener, and more.

Mark Brodin, technical director at Memorial Auditorium, classified the purchase as a “grab bag” worth approximately $25,000. The agreed-upon price was set at $12,000 which will come from the City’s reserve account.

In other action, the council:

  • Approved a parade permit and temporary liquor license for King Turkey Day. 
  • Granted exemptions from lawful gambling permits to Nobles County Ducks Unlimited for a bingo and raffle event, and St. Mary’s Church for a raffle event. 
  • Approved the second reading of a proposed ordinance to rezone a section of property along County Road 5 from a transition zone to a medium-density residential district. 
  • Approved the second reading of a proposed ordinance to amend Title XV of Worthington city code that would once again require parking, terminals, and cleaning businesses to obtain a conditional use permit before operating in the central business district. 
  • Authorized preparing purchase documents for a hydraulic mobile stage, having received quotes from Progressive Products Inc. of Pittsburgh, Kansas. The city received a quote of $213,800 for a 32-foot-wide and 17-foot tall stage. Additionally, there is an estimated $6,000 cost for delivery and on-site training. Funding for the stage will be allocated from the city’s 2022 ARPA funds, as decided during the June 13 City Council meeting
  • Approved a petition for the reappointment of water main assessments for parcels within the Worthington Bio Science Industrial Park second addition.
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Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.
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