Nonprofit board assembled for daycare effort

Fundraising is next step in bringing a daycare back to Rochelle

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ROCHELLE — Rochelle City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh said last week that work is ongoing to set up a 501c3 nonprofit and a board has been assembled in efforts to bring a daycare back to town after Kishwaukee Family YMCA Child Care Center at 1010 N. 15th St. closed last year.

The full board is ready to go and information is being submitted to the Secretary of State’s office to establish the 501c3. That board will be in charge of raising funds and making future decisions for a daycare. The City of Rochelle will have no more involvement with the project after leading the way in recent months to facilitate a daycare. 

“The board is a broad swath of folks from the community,” Fiegenschuh said. “I know there's a couple of city folks on there, but they're not there as representatives of the city. They are because they have kids and they have an interest."

The city recently received a $10,000 grant from the Rochelle Area Community Foundation to start the process of the daycare board and 501c3. A survey the city put out to residents came back with overwhelming results in favor of a daycare with 72 percent of respondents saying they’re in need of a daycare and 71 percent saying their children would be likely to attend a daycare if it opened in town.

Fiegenschuh said he’s unsure what kind of funds the 501c3 board would have to raise to open a daycare. His guess was at least $1 million to get a building bought and the daycare off the ground and running. 

“I'd tell you that if they do a fundraising campaign, I'll be the first one there to help them do it because I believe in the project,” Fiegenschuh said. “I'll help fundraise just as a private citizen. If people want a daycare center in town, when they start raising money, then they can start helping to fundraise and paying for it."

As far as a building for a potential daycare, Fiegenschuh said that will be up to the nonprofit daycare board. He did say he’s toured the former YMCA location and that it’s a great location, ideal and set up for a daycare and in “great shape.”

“When the YMCA closed that building, it was like they closed it on a Friday like it was going to be opened back up on a Monday,” Fiegenschuh said. “We went in there, and nothing was touched. Everything is still in there. I think the building is in great shape, but I can't speak to it. When the 501c3 board is established, that's a decision that they're going to have to make.”

The city manager and city staff and officials are happy to see the board assembled to take on the project after working to facilitate a solution for a large part of this year. 

"It's a great project and once the board is set up, you're going to start seeing more action,” Fiegenschuh said. “But it's going to come from that board and you'll see a group of really dedicated, hard-working people trying to get a daycare facility open."