$1M grant paves way for McComb daycare

FINDLAY, OH (June 8, 2023) – Families who live or work in McComb will soon have access to quality childcare thanks to collaborative community efforts to construct a new facility.

The village has been awarded $1 million in CARES Act funding from the Ohio Office of Community Development. The grant allows for construction of a new childcare facility on property owned by the village on State Route 235, next to Dollar General.

McComb Mayor Cathy Schroll said the project will advance quickly, as the grant must be spent in its entirety by Dec. 31, 2023.

“We are on the fast track,” she said, adding that ground for the new facility could be broken by the end of summer.

Schroll said childcare services, including before- and after-school programming, have been among the goals of the current village council. She noted that former in-home daycare providers have retired in recent years, forcing many parents to utilize providers in Findlay or to leave the workforce to stay home with their kids.

Through community conversations, a group was formed to explore various childcare opportunities for the village. The group held its first meeting in November 2022 and secured the $1 million grant by May 2023.

“The pieces seemed to really fall together in this,” Schroll said. “It’s just unreal to think that in such a short time that all of this opportunity and this incredible vision came to be.”

“I would like to thank the concerned parents, grandparents and organizations who came to the table and remained actively involved for the duration. It was their engagement, hard work and vision that led us to this place so quickly: McComb Local Schools, Hancock Regional Planning, United Way of Hancock County, Hearthside Food Solutions, the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation, McComb Public Library, the Village of McComb, Hancock County Job & Family Services, McComb Economic Development, and the YMCA. I also thank McComb residents Deb Ewing and Anika Ewing-Brown, who were the catalysts to start this conversation in the village,” Schroll continued.

Lizzy Essinger, grant administrator for Hancock Regional Planning, said the state funding can only be used for the actual brick and mortar portion of the structure. Foundation grants related to education and child advancement, along with community gifts, are expected to help cover the costs of additional sidewalks, fencing, playground and parking, along with furniture and other classroom materials.

Schroll said the facility is estimated to be about 5,000 square feet with a capacity for serving about 60 families (approximately 80 children). The goal is to provide daycare services for infants through school age, with a large area designated for before- and after-school activities.

The Village of McComb has contributed the property on which the childcare center will be built. The village has also pledged ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) dollars toward construction of the building.

Schroll noted that the goal is for the facility to serve the entire McComb community. The grant also requires that a portion of the children attending the daycare be eligible for subsidies.

Angela DeBoskey, CEO of United Way of Hancock County, said the organization was eager to participate in McComb childcare exploration as part of a collaborative community effort. She noted that access to safe, reliable childcare is essential to families achieving and maintaining financial stability, and that McComb’s venture has served as a springboard to explore further childcare solutions throughout Hancock County.

“A win like this in McComb touches on so many elements that are central to United Way’s work and mission. It speaks to our Vulnerable Children Initiative, as well as workforce development, financial stability for families, and overall safety and health,” DeBoskey said. “We are proud to have helped convene and support this group and are excited to see how this concept might progress in other pockets of our community.”

“This childcare facility is going to be such a wonderful addition to an already wonderful community,” Essinger said. “The way this group of people saw a real need and came together in such a short timeframe to put together a big application was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It just goes to show that when people put their heads together, they can really achieve something special.”