NEBRASKA CITY -  Nebraska City commissioners approved a $10,000 forgivable loan Monday for a new day care facility at the downtown site of the pioneer-days block house with a modern link to the Nebraska Department of Education’s Step Up to Quality program.

Ann Knapp told commissioners she expects to open before next fall’s start of the school year with a capacity for 45 kids and future plans for a preschool. She said the demand has been obvious to her.

Knapp : “Mainly people calling me all the time and asking me if I would babysit their kids and the just hearing one day all these daycares were closing, people were retiring, I just felt like I needed to help the community and help my friends and family that needed someone to watch their kids.”

At Monday’s meeting, Economic Developer Dan Mauk said the Step Up to Quality designation will be a first in Nebraska City and among the first in the state.

Mauk: “It’s an encouragement we’re making to all of the providers and and we’ll continue to try and encourage all the providers to enroll and move upwards to improve the outcomes for young children.”

Mauk said the loan will be forgivable if the provider stays licensed and reaches step 2 along with 247 other programs in the state.

Mauk: “We thought that was important. This is taxpayer money and to give it away, a relatively large amount, we thought this was a worthy goal to ensure that we improve the quality of our children’s learning in the early years and also to encourage someone to start a business like this.”

Knapp said she was surprised to hear that Knapp Time could be among the first   to reach step 2

Knapp: “I guess that’s the thing, yeah, I honestly didn’t know that, but I just have to take some classes, which is easy. I’ve been doing that forever, anyway. I think it’s going to be pretty simple to do, if not, I guess I’ll have to pay that loan back.”

Brad and Lori Moyer had  modernized the location and agreed to rent the space for the daycare.

About the Step Up to Quality Program

Nebraska City Area EDC is involved with the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation’s Communities for Kids effort to provide training for local child care providers.

The  Nebraska Department of Education program intends  to build a foundation for learning in the formative years of a child’s life.

Step 1 includes orientation and formal program application.

Step  2 includes training

Steps 3-5 include and action plan and readiness.

Site history

1846 - The U.S. military established Fort Kearney with a log blockhouse near downtown.

1944 – The Nebraska City Street Department cleaned up the grounds of the Block House replica at 417 Central Ave.

1955 - Mae Ryder won the table tennis championship at Fort Teen. The tournament had been organized by Louis Huff, Bill Davis and Joe Ricketts.