The City of Clarkfield has received a 2018 City of Excellence Award from the League of Minnesota Cities at the League’s Annual Conference for its “Community Child Care Initiative.”

Clarkfield seized an opportunity to breathe economic vitality into its community by building a child care facility to win this year’s “Population under 5,000” category.

The availability and affordability of child care can be a determinant for families deciding where to live and work. In 2017, a study reported that Yellow Medicine County – where Clarkfield is located – had no child care centers and only 29 licensed homes, not all of which were providing child care. The study also identified some families were traveling up to 70 miles roundtrip to satisfy child care needs.

With an estimated 81 needed child care slots, Clarkfield partnered with its local charter school, area businesses and organizations, and residents to create a community child care center set to open on May 1, 2018. To meet this goal, the City committed $25,000 to begin construction, and acquired a land donation from the local school district. Other individuals and partnering groups contributed $140,000, and Yellow Medicine County contributed $25,000 to construction.

The City of Clarkfield is currently forming a non-profit entity to operate the center and to secure the necessary funding needed to cover additional start-up expenses.

The center will offer 58 child care spots including 24 infant and 14 toddler spots, and provide high quality care and education at an affordable rate. The City hopes the new center will make Clarkfield a more attractive place to reside, and help the community expand in new ways.

The League of Minnesota Cities is a membership organization dedicated to helping cities throughout Minnesota build quality communities through effective advocacy, expert analysis, trusted guidance, and collective action.