It’s disappointing to learn the way that events have played out in the eviction of East Dubuque Child Care Center from its location in the former St. Mary School in East Dubuque.
Child care center owner Melanie Ricke said she was notified by St. Mary and Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church that the center’s rent would be increased by 72% and that the church would no longer take responsibility for fixing anything in the building. Ricke met with representatives from the church, and City Manager Loras Herrig even participated in the meeting to underscore the vital importance of child care in the community.
To no avail, and without a promised second meeting, the child care center received an eviction notice.
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Meanwhile, construction is underway on a new child care center in East Dubuque, and plans call for the facility to be ready in spring. Surely allowing the child care center to remain in the old school for a few more months would be reasonable, under the circumstances.
Child care is one of the biggest challenges for the workforce in area communities. It strains logic to suggest no other solution can be found other than to evict the child care center, compounding the problem for the families of the 100-plus children cared for there.
Officials at the church should reconsider and try to find a way to accommodate East Dubuque Child Care Center.
Another housing complex planned in Dubuque breeds another group of angry neighbors. This time, it is the planned development for the former St. Anthony’s Catholic School.
It’s understandable. When you like your neighborhood, anything that threatens to change it can be hard to accept. But the need for more housing in Dubuque is well documented and approaching critical. While growth needs to be managed thoughtfully, the demand for more housing must be met.
Neighbors in the area pointed to traffic as a major concern. It’s hard to imagine that housing development would create more traffic than the area saw when it was a thriving school serving hundreds of children and their families.
Other church and school buildings have undergone similar transformations without problematic results. Consider Marquette Hall, the former Sacred Heart School in Dubuque, which was converted into 28 one- and two-bedroom apartments after sitting vacant for 15 years.
That’s the thing — the alternative to this development likely could be a vacant building.
Dubuque City Council Member Laura Roussell hit the nail on the head when she said that an empty, abandoned building is more detrimental to a neighborhood than a new development.
It’s not always easy to accept changes in an established neighborhood. But to keep Dubuque’s economy thriving, we need workforce and housing to continue to grow as well.
It’s great to see a permanent home for Jacqueline Hunter’s labor of love, Oh Happy Play.
Two years after Hunter founded the nonprofit that recycles used toys and redistributes them to low-income families, it has its own storefront at 1876 Central Ave.
A Christmas cheer for Hunter for dedicating herself to this effort and for building owner Matt Henick, who is allowing Oh Happy Play to operate there rent free currently.
The concept of the nonprofit helps in two ways: keeping toys out of landfills and providing toys for kids in need. Playing, after all, is a critical part of child development.
Hunter’s big plans include evolving Oh Happy Play as a toy library throughout the year, with kids borrowing and returning toys. Long term, she hopes to see it become a “stay and play,” where kids can engage in play with unfettered access to toys.
Cheers to Hunter for her efforts — long may they play.
Editorials reflect the consensus of the Telegraph Herald Editorial Board.
"Another housing complex planned in Dubuque breeds another group of angry neighbors." You call them angry....others would call them concerned. Nothing like using the stereotypical "some Dubuquers don't like change" narrative.
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