City to contribute money to daycare project

By Donald Roth Jr.

A local developer’s wishes were answered Monday night when the DeKalb City Council voted 5-2 to increase the city’s contribution to his project.

Tom Rosenow, who is rehabilitating a building located at 909 S. Fourth St. into a daycare facility, requested an additional $50,000 from the city council earlier this month.

Two daycare centers, The Growing Place and Children’s Learning Center, currently are located in the Tyler School facility.

DeKalb Economic Director Linda Boyer said these two daycare centers must vacate the Tyler School location by August 1. There are no other locations open to house the daycare centers after this date.

The original cost to restore the 20,000-square-foot Fourth Street building was estimated at $280,000, Rosenow said.

After bids came in the amount quickly increased to $439,000, requiring someone to kick in the difference.

After considerable debate, the council and Rosenow came to a compromise. The city will pay an additional $50,000 and Rosenow will make up the other $50,000.

“I am very confident that the new bids will come in at or below the amount which the additional $100,000 will cover,” DeKalb Mayor Greg Sparrow said.

The additional $160,000 needed to complete the project grew out of several problems, he said. The bids required more lumber than expected and there was also an increase in the per-square foot price to construct the facility.

Rosenow said he hoped to stay within the new budgetary constraints by reducing the square footage of the building. This will be accomplished by centralizing bathroom facilities and combining two kitchens into one.

“The next step is to solicit new bids for the project and hope they come in within the budget,” Sparrow said.

Sealed bids should be received within the next few weeks, he said. Once the bids are in, the rehabilitation of the building might proceed.

Several DeKalb aldermen expressed different opinions about the additional $50,000 that the city is footing the bill for.

Second Ward Alderman Mike Welsh said he thought the project was a private enterprise and additional funding should come from private enterprises.

“I am shocked that you (Rosenow) are before the city council again asking for more money,” he said.

There was no other choice but to offer the additional funding, since the children have no other place to go, 5th Ward Alderman Rita Tewksbury said.

“The city council simply wanted to provide the children with the daycare facilities they deserve,” she said.

Sparrow said the additional $50,000 for the building’s rehabilitation will come from the city’s fiscal year 1993 economic development fund. The economic development fund for FY93 is estimated at $385,000.