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Florence developing child-care

Staff writer

Eight volunteers went to a former special education building Saturday in Florence to clean the building for future use as a child care center.

Walls were cleaned, broken windows were repaired, ceiling tiles were replaced, and wet wood was removed from the basement before mold was abated.

A visit to Burdick several months ago gave rural Florence resident Les Allison and his wife the idea.

He met a nurse who said she worked in Emporia but had moved to Burdick because that’s where she could find child care.

Florence could use both child care and a population influx.

Lack of child care in the county led Hillsboro to work on creating a child care facility. Several smaller child care options are available, but not enough to meet demand.

Allison associated with a non-profit agency in Wichita, decided to do what he knows how to do.

“I connect people with resources, so that’s what I’m doing here,” he said.

He began looking for a place in Florence that could house a child care facility, gathered a five-member board of directors, and incorporated a 501(c)3 non-profit called Flint Hills Child Care Corp.

He found a former special education building at 701 Doyle St. that now belongs to the city, which has said the child-care center could use the building for the price of utilities.

He hopes to develop a center that would accommodate as many as 30 children — the number the state health department said the building could accommodate.

He’s also looking to acquire playground space next to the building. He’ll approach the Marion-Florence school district and the Peabody American Legion. Each owns property next to the building.

The child care center will have two large rooms for taking care of the children and an office area.

The building has a basement with an area could become a safe room.

A community meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday will focus on the coalition and what it hopes to do and representatives of the organization Child Care Aware and Kansas Department of Health and Environment are expected to attend.

Board members include Allison; his wife, Linda; Lory Allison; Richard Blount; and Tracy Lowe. Two more members are being sought.

Additional volunteers to work on the building are needed as well.

Flint Hills Child Care has been applied for grant money to get started, but more money will be needed to get the building ready and the operation up and running.

Donations are being sought and may be sent in care of Allison at 1071 Xavier Rd., Florence, KS 66851.

Last modified March 15, 2023

 

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