Our family relies upon quality childcare to make living and working in Homer possible. Homer is fortunate to have a number of quality childcare providers, but there are gaps in care for certain age groups, and serious shortages for other age groups. There is simply more demand for childcare than there is supply.
That is why I am incredulous that Homer’s Advisory Planning Commission did not grant Smallpond Childcare, run by the capable and amazing Susannah Webster, a conditional use permit that would allow her to build a quality facility in the neighborhood behind the Pratt Museum. The lot is zoned for mixed residential and business. The city planner strongly recommended granting the CUP. Four of the six commissioners, a majority, voted in favor of granting the permit. However it requires five yays to be granted. That rule apparently changes next month.
Smallpond Childcare would be a well-built building, with a beautiful garden. Smallpond employs six-plus people with good wages and provides childcare to 20-plus families. The presence of those children as they walk to the Pratt Museum and Karen Hornaday would help guarantee that the area develops into a safe, lively, walkable neighborhood.
Early childhood development is fundamental to a healthy community, and Smallpond is an incredible asset to those efforts. I appeal to the commission, the Homer City Council, neighbors and community members to swiftly reconsider Smallpond’s application, grant any necessary permits and support healthy neighborhoods and quality child care in our community.