A surge in enrollment at a nearby fundamental school and growing call for for pre-okay offerings in valuable Maine are pointing to what observers see as an advantageous trend: More households coming to the location are looking for tremendous early training for their youngsters.
But a number of challenges stand in the way of that increase, including accessibility and affordability of programming; the price for application facilities and faculties providing the services; and a lack of to be had housing inventory that would assist entice greater households with college-elderly children.
Interest within the Waterville area has grown currently, which many attribute to the continued revitalization of the town’s downtown. Since 2015, numerous new restaurants have cropped up, a hotel is currently being constructed on Main Street and an arts and movie center is at the horizon. A developer lately purchased the old Lockwood generators, with plans to create flats. Maine Life Real Estate Co. Indexed the city as having Maine’s quickest-developing actual property market in 2017. The wide variety of homes bought and offered in Waterville has greater than doubled from 2008 to today.
“The real property market in Waterville has gone up exponentially inside the last five to ten years,” stated Sara Bowen, government assistant to the metropolis manager, mayor and solicitor. “That said, I’m no longer sure how to gauge whether or not more families had been stepping into Waterville, but the actual estate has been busier.”
In January, a popular Waterville childcare software introduced it might reduce greater than half of its slots for children aged six weeks to five years due to a scarcity of investment. The declaration, from The Children’s Place Early Care and Education Center, sparked panic among dad and mom inside the area who felt there had been not many different fine (not to mention waitlist-loose) options to turn to.
Just 15 of the 21 childcare facilities in Waterville meet the simple regulatory standards outlined by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Quality for ME program, in step with its online database. The Children’s Place is considered one of 3 specified with the company’s maximum score.
Across the kingdom, the quantity of childcare facilities and available slots has reduced nearly forty% in the ultimate decade, according to the DHHS.
Now, the outcome at The Children’s Place is slightly more hopeful, with Executive Director Richard Dorian announcing that the corporation turned into capable of finance 12 more slots than it to begin with an idea back in January. Still, the number of youngsters it serves has reduced from fifty-three to 36. Dorian stated the cuts had been restricted to three- to five-year-olds.
“We closed one in all our two preschool school rooms, and a part of our intent changed into there was an increase in options for older young children,” he said. “It’s easier to serve them than it is babies and very young children. The maximum need we hear approximately is for infants and very young kids.”
Area residents have also gotten creative to assist alleviate that want, with companions RaeAnn Lajoie and Jennifer Stevens opening a brand new 49-child daycare throughout the Kennebec River close to the Winslow-Vassalboro line this September.
Longtime real estate agent Don Plourde, of Coldwell Banker Plourde Real Estate, stated he’s noticed greater families shopping for up available housing inventory, but there’s no longer enough of it. Plourde, who has been inside the commercial enterprise for 36 years, says he’s noticed a fashion going back as a minimum eight years in which there have been inadequate houses on the market in the Waterville vicinity to keep tempo with demand, mainly within the $one hundred,000-$2 hundred,000 fee range.