Kurk Kramer's monthly column

The June EDA Board meeting began with a discussion with the city attorney on some possible additions that the EDA could add to their loan process that would ensure documentation on insurance from applicants.

The Board examined a second landscaping bid, along with preliminary drawing, for the planned pocket park on the corner of Highways 4 and 14. The plan is to now map this directly on the property to obtain a visual on the actual size and details of the greenspace. I will also be talking directly to the two adjacent property owners regarding raised beds that will be on the east and south portion of the area.

The date has been set for the second week of July to have EDA representatives visit Mitchell, South Dakota and discuss with numerous parties the possibility of selling the cemetery property to a local individual, group, or business, so we no longer need to deal with the ownership of the property.

I reported to the Board the information that was discussed at the Home-based Childcare Providers Meeting that was held on June 18. There were 14 of the 18 licensed providers from the Sleepy Eye area in attendance at the meeting, as well as a representative from Parent Aware/Families First of Minnesota—their Educational Resource Specialist, and 10 others interested in listening to the content of the meeting. Some of the details included that 10 of the fourteen home providers stated they were full, and that there is still a need in the community for infant, toddler, and school-age childcare; that the objective of the meeting was to get information on the needs for childcare in the community, and not a debate on home care versus center care, because parents should have choices regarding this, and that opinions on either, are just that—opinions.

I was pleased that over 50% of the home providers stayed after the meeting and talked with the mayor, city manager, and myself about the situation and said they felt it was needed to explore this topic in more detail. They said they did not feel threatened, and that the idea of a center along with home care was needed in the community. I appreciated their input and support since their thoughts and experience are extremely important to the EDA as we examine this topic. I am planning on following up this meeting by getting more information from the home providers on ways in which the EDA might be able to assist them with their business. We will be receiving more information from the Sleepy Eye business community at a luncheon scheduled for Tuesday, July 2. The objective of this meeting will be to have an informative question and answer session with local businesses on the availability of early childcare and related topics and how it affects their employees and the workforce for their businesses.

As always, if there is anyone with questions, or wants more information on current EDA activities, please feel free to contact me by phone, email, or stop by in person, as I am always willing to share the details if I am able to on any particular projects. The EDA mission is to maintain and improve the community through the retention and growth of business, industry, and services.