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Sparta finds creative way to double childcare offerings

The Village of Sparta is getting creative to address the childcare crisis facing West Michigan. They've found a unique approach that doubles the number of children served

“A lot of families in Sparta have talked to us about the fact they can’t even find anywhere for their kids to go so they can go to work during the day, or if they can find places, often its so expensive.”

Sparta Village Manager Jim Lower explains the idea leaders came up with to help. They acquired a building from Kent County that used to be a daycare but needs renovation.

“We entered into a public/private partnership with a local childcare provider where we’re going to help them renovate the building and gave them a great lease rate to then basically double the amount of space they have for area kids.”

Sowing Seeds Childcare is already operating a center in Sparta for 84 children. With this partnership, they will serve 84 more, plus create 24 new jobs. Lower says one of the biggest costs for providers is finding the right space and being able to afford necessary renovations.

"That’s something that’s within the village’s wheelhouse. You know we have a lot of buildings and that’s something we can do so we figured that’s where we could step in and help with the need.”

He thinks this public/private partnership is a blueprint for other communities to explore, as the demand for workers - and childcare - continues to grow.

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