Lack of childcare in rural MN is widespread and complex. Often deemed as just a family issue, it affects the health of a small community and its ability to grow and welcome new workers to the regioin.
This November 6th, if you live in Grand Rapids, you'll have a question of raising local sales tax to expand the IRA civic center from the busy, in need of repair hockey hub it is now, to a place for families, daycare, the Boys and Girls Club and athletics in the region. The City of Grand Rapids is not proposing they will get into the business of running a daycare center, but they do think they can help assist with providing a place that will make the region stronger. The City of Grand Rapids lays out the plans including costs at their website and they also show what they learned from the community survey. In addition there was a University of MN study about economic impact of the IRA Civic Center.
The University of Minnesota Extension's Tourism Center found that the IRA Civic Center has a $3.4 million annual impact on Itasca County. An expansion of the facility in partnership with local collaborators would generate a projected annual impact of $5.5 million in gross output.
Grand Rapids City Administrator Tom Pagel and Deer River Schools Superintendent Matt Grose joined us to tell us more.