Downtown Wichita car lot torn down to build childcare center
Wrecking crews spent Friday morning demolishing "Chico's used cars" on south Topeka ave near Kellogg. In its place, will be Center City Academy, a non-profit childcare center.
"It's just a big step for us," says academy development director Connor Hampton. "As we move forward, you know, we're so excited. We can't wait to build this building and serve children."
Hampton says the facility will be able to take up to 100 kids and believes that adding more daycare options is key for Wichita's future growth. "People want to come and live here. But they're going to need places for their children to go every day."
Right now Child Care Aware Kansas says Sedgwick county is meeting about 41% of the demand for daycare and It estimates that 16,000 kids are still in need.
That lack of space has been creating issues for the local workforce. "So many employees didn't come back to work because of the childcare issue, especially women and so we lost a lot of talent. We lost a lot of diversification in our work sites because of that" says city councilperson Becky Tuttle.
She adds places like Center City, as well as changes made this week that add two more spots to home daycare capacity, which may seem small, but they are important steps to fixing the problem.
"When I go to meetings, and we're talking about workforce, we're talking about attracting and retaining talent, we're talking about economic development, this conversation of early learning and childcare needs to be woven into that so that we can continue to address it."
Hampton agrees and that's why he wanted to open the center city in the first place. "We know every childcare facility that gets open, every in-home daycare that can add two more spots, just helps with that crisis."
To learn more or donate to Center City, visit its website here.