SPEARFISH | The city of Spearfish is accepting proposals from childcare providers to implement a service at the city Recreation Center.
Parks and Recreation Director Tyler Ehnes said in an email to the Journal that the center has never provided official childcare before, but had heard there was a need in the community. The conversation was brought up again during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“After speaking with several large childcare centers in Spearfish and quite a few parents, we soon realized that there was a great need for additional childcare here,” Ehnes said. “Based on our conversations, some waitlists are several hundred children long and can take upwards of 18 months to be able to get a spot. Our vision is that we can offer a service that is needed for the community in a space that is ideal for childcare while at the same time maintaining our current rec center operations.”
He said the recreation center has had an hourly care service that allows center patrons to drop off their children on an hourly basis to use the facility.
During the June 15 meeting, Spearfish City Council members approved staff to publish a request for proposals for childcare services, also referred to as an RFP.
According to the request, the city is looking for a fleshed out proposal that includes a realistic plan, experience, creativity, safety and more.
Proposals are able to include use of the hourly room and party room, which would have a combined capacity of about 50 children, depending on how space is used.
Ehnes said proposers are asked to submit plans that allow a limited number of city staff to use the service and to set aside five spots to continue the hourly service care.
“After that, we will negotiate with the provider who will be eligible for the remaining spots,” he said.
Ehnes said the rooms won’t be affected as the hourly care room is already used for a similar service and the party room will continue to be used for party rentals since those are typically booked in the evenings or weekends when the childcare facility won’t be open.
Those interested in submitting a proposal should have a hard copy turned in and signed by an individual or individuals authorized to execute legal documents on behalf of the proposer by 4 p.m. July 2. According to the RFP, late proposals will not be accepted.
Proposals should be addressed to Ehnes and submitted to the Finance Office in City Hall at 625 N. Fifth St. in Spearfish.
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