Community support, grants help fund the project
Newell is getting closer to meeting the needs of families with young children requiring day care. The Newell Children's Center committee has worked diligently to make this dream a reality and it is hoped that the new facility will be open by this fall.
In a survey completed a few years ago, it was shown that the community had 50 kids falling into the four years old and younger category. And though there are a few home care providers in the community, a majority of those kids were being cared for by Storm Lake facilities.
A group of concerned residents got on the wagon early in 2002 and began looking into the possibility of establishing a day care in Newell, according to Steve Williams, chairman of the Newell Children's Center.
The group struggled with the problem of where the day care should be. Existing buildings were in need of repairs and would require too much remodeling to bring them up to the licensing standards and building a new facility would be too costly.
The Masons in Newell approached the group that fall and offered to sell their building and convert it to a day care. The committee was overwhelmed at the idea and were impressed with the condition of the 10-year building. Its location is ideal, only a block from the school, for those taking advantage of the before and after school program and a block from the Pride and Joy preschool for those young students who will take part in that program and return to the day care afterwards.
The building already meets many of the requirements. It is handicap accessible, is all one level and contains a kitchen area. The fire marshall and Department of Human Services inspected the facility and personnel from Storm Lake's Gingerbread House looked over the facility and everyone was in agreement: It is very adaptable to meet the needs of a day care.
Last summer, a major fundraiser was held and was termed a success. The group was pleased with the $90,000 that was brought in from canvassing the community, though it fell short of the necessary $150,000. The community has backed the idea of bringing a day care to the community since the idea began. Williams commented that some 75 residents volunteered to help with the canvassing - that shows dedication.
The Newell Children's Center received a $15,000 RACI grant from Iowa Economic Development last year, as well, and those funds can be used to help in the remodeling of the facility.
The group applied for a Community Development Block Grant, also through the Iowa Economic Development, and will receive word if they have been accepted for those funds next month.
With or without that grant, the day care will go on.
Currently, a raffle is being held to raise additional funds. A beautiful doll house, made by the Iowa Corrections System, will be the prize. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5. The drawing will be held April 1 at the conclusion of the Newell-Fonda elementary music program. The doll house is on display at the First Community Bank in Newell. Tickets available at the bank and will also be available April 1 at grandparents day and at the school in the morning and in the lobby of the old gym prior to the concert. You need not be present to win.
The committee is hoping the day care will be a draw for the community and bring in new young families.