The Globe

By Hope Moural

LUVERNE — In February, the city of Luverne received a $2.6 million federal grant to help fund a daycare center in Rock County. Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith helped secure the funding.

On Monday, Klobuchar stopped by the Kids Rock! Center to see for herself how the project is progressing and took a tour of the facility, which is located in the former Total Card building on Blue Mound Avenue.

The City of Luverne’s Economic Development Director Holly Sammons, Luverne Mayor Patrick Baustian and other city officials joined Klobuchar for the event and showed her around the space.

Klobuchar was presented with the layout of the building, which includes everything from an outdoor playground area to the kitchen, staff meeting room, and of course, the kids rooms.

Sammons walked Klobuchar through what a day in the life at the facility would look like, addressed what security checks would be in place and answered any questions the senator had.

An additional $250,000 was secured for the project just last month under a Child Care Economic Development Grant from the Minnesota Department and Employment of Economic Development (DEED).

According to Sammons, those funds are to be used for equipment, furnishings and supplies needed at the new center.

“By leveraging public, private and philanthropic resources, this facility will be licensed to serve 186 children and employ 35 employees at full capacity and will have a significant impact locally and throughout southwest Minnesota,” Sammons said.

Other funds raised and pledged include those by the city of Luverne, Rock County, and local community members who raised $1 million during a 2023 fundraiser.

According to Baustian, total costs of the new daycare facility are estimated around $8.2 million. He also shared that the city applied for $300,000 from DEED, and he’s pleased with receiving 83% of that amount.

“(The) $250,000 is definitely a big bonus for all our fixed furnishings and equipment,” said Baustian. “The Southwest Initiative Foundation has steered us in the right direction of grants we apply for.”

The Kids Rock! Child Care Center has a licensed capacity of 186 kids total, ranging in age from infants to 12 years old. Construction is slated to be completed in January or February 2025, with enrollment estimated to open that spring, just in time for summer break.