little sprouts

EAGLE LAKE — The Little Sprouts Daycare and Pre-School in Eagle Lake will be able to purchase books, an outdoor wall climber and other equipment and supplies thanks to a county loan.

The Blue Earth County board on Tuesday approved a $19,142 loan from its childcare forgivable loan program.

The loans are for five years with interest only payments. Twenty percent of the original loan is forgiven annually as long as the center stays open and makes its interest payments.

In a letter to the board, Andrew Miller said the loan will allow them to purchase equipment that they would otherwise be unable to cash flow at this time. Miller said that savings through the loan program will also allow them to save up money to open a second location in the future.

Little Sprouts has 50 children in its care.

As Eagle Lake has grown so too has its child care gap.

A study done earlier this year found the city has 107 fewer child care slots than are needed.

Eagle Lake received a $10,000 grant from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation to help it come up with action plans to address local shortages.

City Administrator Jennifer Bromeland told The Free Press in May that Eagle Lake’s growing population fueled by young families makes the issue particularly pressing.

“We need to address it if we want to attract and retain young families in Eagle Lake,” she said at the time.

SMIF is also working with other area communities and counties to try to come up with solutions to child care shortages that are prevalent in many communities.