The Eureka City Council passed a motion to move forward the licensing process for the Little Saplings Preschool program, which will be run by the city’s Community Services Department, at their meeting Tuesday evening.
Recreation Supervisor Ashley Taylor presented the council with information about the program and said the opening date was set for March 4.
“The ultimate goal is for us to be a more-affordable option for families locally,” Taylor said.
The program “is being offered as a benefit for city and Humboldt Bay Fire employees,” according to a city document, with the hopes of increasing retention for the most at need positions in the city.”
Several modifications have been made to the John Ryan Youth Center, where the program is located, including a new front door, ADA compliance measures, improvements to the bathrooms, a new kitchen range, as well as a new shed.
Nancy Danel has been selected as the director, Taylor said, and the city is still looking for part-time teachers. The curriculum will incorporate several learning modalities, including “Montessori,” “Reggio” and “Waldorf,” Taylor said.
“(It’s) a play-based, nature-inspired program,” Taylor said.
With the projected revenue of the program ranging from about $150,000 to $170,000, and with expenses estimated at $115,000 a year, the program will be a net positive for the city, according to Taylor.
Mayor Susan Seaman applauded the progress made by the Community Services District.
“You’re ahead of the game,” Seaman said, underscoring the importance of utilizing child care as a means to economic development.
Councilwoman Heidi Messner said she visited the program.
“It looks like it’s going to be really good,” she said. “I would encourage anyone to go and check it out.”
Several council members commented on local happenings as well as several upcoming events of interest. Councilman Austin Allison remarked on the announcement made by Nordic Aquafarms of their intentions to develop a large scale fish farm on the Humboldt Bay Harbor.
“That site … is very well developed for a project like that,” he said. “It seems like a really interesting and potentially exciting opportunity.”
Allison said he would keep his eye on the project as it develops. Allison is also vice chair on the Redwood Coast Energy Authority’s board of directors and added that RCEA’s offshore wind project is making good progress with a projected completion date of 2025.
Councilwoman Leslie Castellano said she planned to host a “Ward 1 town hall” meeting at the beginning of March, adding that a flyer with more details will soon be provided.
Councilwoman Kim Bergel announced her intention to attend a health care forum on Monday, and asked people to “bring your questions and a positive attitude.”
The council discussed the production of a climate action plan, which is still in production. According to a city document, “the process is likely to be complete by the end of 2019,” with periodic updates and public meetings in between. Towards the end of the discussion, Arroyo mentioned the possibility of the area becoming a “climate refuge” and asked city staff to look into the matter further.
Philip Santos can be reached at 707-441-0506.