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Planning Commission OKs permit for proposed daycare

Mike Christopherson
Crookston Times

    A proposed daycare that would be known as “Gotta Love Kids” and would be located on East Fourth Street downtown east of North Broadway in the former New Paths Area Learning Center location cleared a hurdle Tuesday night when the City of Crookston Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit.

    The vote was unanimous. The permit request will next go before the city council.

    The owners of the proposed daycare, Janelle and Mark Berhow, still have to acquire the property, finalize financing and make renovations at the site, such as adding a kitchen. Janelle Berhow, currently the multimedia sales manager at Times who ran a home daycare from 2000-06, said the goal is to be open and operational in January 2021.

    A single daycare provider can be licensed to have up to 12 kids, a combination of infants, toddlers, younger than school-age and school-age children.

    Berhow says a goal a year or two down the road would be to expand staff and potentially add hours in the evenings and on Saturdays.

One concern

    Before Tuesday’s vote, Planning Commission member Shirley Iverson said she’d received one phone call about the proposed daycare from a person who has rental contracts with Tri-County Community Corrections to provide housing for various offenders, in the area of the proposed daycare, once they’re released from incarceration. Iverson said several of the rental clients are sex offenders.

    Iverson added that she still “totally supports” the daycare proposal.

    Commission members concluded that Crookston’s “dire” need for more licensed daycare options outweigh any concerns or opposition to the proposal expressed by the person who contacted Iverson.

    Building Official Greg Hefta agreed, saying he spoke to Interim City Administrator Angel Weasner about the matter brought to Iverson’s attention. “In our viewpoint, that would be up to the police and the Berhows to work through that,” Hefta said. “Nothing in the (conditional use permit) really applies (to the concern). There is concern for the community, but we have to look at the benefits (of having the daycare).”