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Posted February 8, 2012 | comments 6 Comments

Proposal for summer parks program nixed

Local day-care providers said sessions were unfair competition for businesses

By Kim Walter -- kwalter@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- The Warren County Board of Supervisors asked the Parks and Recreation Department on Tuesday to abandon its proposal for a summer in the parks program.

Instead, supervisors told parks officials during a Tuesday work session to work with Warren County Middle School's Youth Enrichment Program to develop a summer strategy.

Robin Richardson, assistant director for the department, proposed a summer program for children ages 5-11 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week. She said the program could accept up to 40 children, with a cost of $90 per week for 25 of the children, and $75 for the remaining 15 who might not be able to afford the higher rate.

The program would offer sessions of different sports and skills, and possibly a few days at the pool.

Originally, the hours had been set from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., but local day-care representatives thought that time frame qualified the program as another day care in the community.

About a week ago, Rose Mary Comstock of Angel's Corner informed other day-care providers of the proposal, and collected letters of opposition, some of which she brought to the work session.

Comstock read her own letter aloud, and explained that while she thanked Parks and Recreation, she thought the department needs to work with the day-care facilities, as well as other organizations, to "reach the children who have not been given opportunities."

"We really don't understand why it has to be designated to a limited group the whole summer," she said. Comstock also said the bad economy has worked against day cares, describing one that recently closed after being in business for over 30 years.

Comstock wants children both with working parents or with stay-at-home parents to have opportunities this summer. She recognized that Parks and Recreation has had past summer programs that worked "just fine."

Richardson pointed out that while those programs worked, they had to be shut down due to lack of a facility. Though the department doesn't struggle with that now, if it takes in more children it will have to hire more employees, she said.

"We just don't have the money," Richardson said.

Comstock said she couldn't help, but want to protect the local businesses, calling herself the "mother bear of day cares."

The supervisors had set a Feb. 21 public hearing on the proposed summer program, but Chairman Archie Fox asked that it be canceled.

"Let's just be done with this," said Supervisor Tony Carter. He offered that, instead, the department go to the Youth Enrichment Program and try to work out a summer program with its officials.

6 Comments | Leave a comment

    It would seem to me this is another case of Front Royal businesses wanting the town to take care of them. In this case by not offering an alternative to the daycare at a more affordable rate. If the daycare businesses had programs that were superior to what the town suggests they can do then they wouldn't need to be worried about a loss of business.

    It sounds to me that Ms. Comstock is affraid that the Parks and Recreation Department will take away potential "clients" from her daycare. The Parks and Recreation is trying to offer a day care program for those who can't afford private day care facilities, but businesses are so worried about themselves, they don't worry about the people who can't afford their services. Why doesn't Ms. Comstock go back and work out a way to offer those families with financial difficulties an opportunity to use her day care at a reduced rate. It sounds like she can't, so why not let the Parks and Recreation help the community. I find it funny she calls her self "Mother Bear of Day Cares". It sounds like she is a "Scared Cub" worried about losing business. Let the Parks and Recreation offer more programs for the youth in the community. So sad it comes down to this.

    It is the job of Warren County supervisors to look out for all of it's citizens !!! Not just a few business owners who have enough time to attend meetings. We should be outraged that the board is looking after a few while so many are trying to make it in this economy.

    WOW, another example of the minority convincing the BOS to alter a program that was being developed by, HEY a department of Warren County. Day care facilities are exactly what they are, provide care for children. The proposal set forth by the WCP&R was a summer SPORTS program that would entirely be more intersting than attending a day care. It would get kids involved with different sports, to learn different skills, and hey what's wrong with going to the pool? This was the perfect opportunity to provide the kids (although limited in number) a great opportunity to develop and learn about a wide array of sports. If the day cares are so stressed that this was going to effect their bottom line $, then have them develop a more interesting summer program where the kids want to go (and could afford to go). As for Ms. Comstock being the 'mother bear of day cares'; when does bear season start? Way to go WCBOS; pretty soon with the idealogy that currently exists we can change the name to WCBS.

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    Excuse me but how can you say anything about what the centers are willing to do??? There are assistance programs available through the state for families that need it not to mention that as a director of a center in Front Royal we do try to offer options for parents that can make it more affordable. However centers have a lot more over head than a program being funded through the county. Our tax dollars should not be used against us in this way, most small business are struggling in this economy and the last thing we need is our local government sticking that knife a little deeper! If they want to reach children in the community there are things they can do to provide activities for the community as a whole, not just 40 kids.

      Other counties have similiar programs to that of what Warren County wanted to establish.........a neighboring county in partnering with the DSS of that county has established a program that has centers in 3 different areas of their county. And we're not talking about 40 kids, probably 4 to 5 times that many. A program that establishes weekly themes and events for the children, along with field trips to various attractions, and guess what, they also go to the local pools. No one has ever discouraged this practice or complained about the almighty $ they are losing. So don't say that local tax $ shouldn't be used to provide a service to the citizens, aren't they the ones that it should benefit?, and it isn't free, there is still would have been a fee involved. But as before in other instances, the majority of whom could care less, or approved of the program are snubbed in lieu of the minority. Thank you WCBOS.


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