City Wins Grant for Child Care Center

Aug 8, 2001

The city of Rolla, in partnership with the Meramec Communit Enhancement Corporation, has been awarded a $298,000 grant for the construction of a 90-slot child care center in the Hy-Point Industrial Park, the Missouri Department of Economic Development announced recently. MCEC is the non-profit arm of the Meramec Regional Planning Commission.

With the grant money now confirmed, those involved are busy marketing $175,000 worth of 50% tax credits that will generate the extra dollars needed to complete the project. Local businesses-including farmers and landlords-who know they will be paying Missouri taxes are being asked to consider the purchase of these credits.

Two years ago, MCEC secured $210,000 worth of Neighborhood Assistance Program tax credits to start the project. This program enables donors to redirect their Missouri tax dollars to local projects while reducing administrative and overhead costs that would have been incurred if the same program was administered by a government agency. So far, Brewer Science and MO-Sci have agreed to purchase credits.

MCEC has worked closely with the Community Child Care and Development Corporation, a non-profit that formed out of MCEC's child care advisory board. The Community Child Care and Development Corporation will actually oversee the operation of the facility. One third of the nine-member board is industry representatives with representation by Brewer Science, MO-Sci Corp and Briggs and Stratton.

"It is strong industry involvement-especially what we have received from Brewer Science and MO-Sci Corp. -that is going to make this project happen" said Richard Cavendar, Executive Director of MRPC. "Not only have Brewer and MO-Sci agreed to purchase tax credits, they have provided manpower and were even a part of the formal presentation that we made to the Department of Economic Development."

The city of Rolla, in October 2000, voted to sponsor the application and agreed to provide one acre of land in the Hy-Point Industrial park for the facility, as it had offered to do one year prior.

In the past, industries and individuals viewed childcare as a family matter. During advisory committee meetings, local industries said the availability of childcare is a plus for companies to retain qualified staff and attract new people. However, companies like MO-Sci and Brewer Science both see the lack of childcare as an operational cost.
 Every time an employee misses work due to the lack of childcare, the company is affected. Brewer Science estimates that 60 workdays were lost in the last calendar year because of the lack of adequate childcare options.

The Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credit Program, administered by the Department of Economic Development, was designed to improve the quality of life for communities and their residents. Eligible donors to NAP projects include corporations, insurance companies, express companies, banks and other financial institutions, partnerships, limited liability companies and individuals who either operate sole proprietorship or farms in Missouri, have rental property, or have royalty income in Missouri.

Qualifying donations include cash, materials, supplies, equipment, technical assistance and professional services, real estate, and stocks and bonds. "We saw examples in other child development facilities where a donor would complete a room and their contribution would be recognized with a plaque by the door," said Loretta Recklein, Corporate Marketing Coordinator for Brewer Science. She serves a treasurer of the child development center. "This would work well here. If you have a special interest and want to provide a donation-for example playground equipment, floor covering or drywall-we want to work with you." We are encouraging those considering tax credits to discuss the tax savings with their accountant or tax preparer.

The city of Rolla has requested engineering qualifications to design the center and an advisory committee of MCEC, 3CDC and the city is reviewing the RFQ's to make a recommendation for the city council's consideration. Other committees are also being formed to develop a job description for the site director and to begin design of the facility.

If all goes well, the facility could be in operation in about a year. To make contributions to the MCEC child care facility or to learn more about the available tax credits, persons may contact Meramec Regional Planning Commission at (573) 265-2993.