A surge in enrollment at a local essential school and growing demand for pre-okay offerings in relevant Maine are pointing to what observers see as a fantastic fashion: More families coming to the area are seeking out extremely good early training for his or her youngsters.
But some of the demanding situations stand inside the manner of that growth, consisting of accessibility and affordability of programming; the value for application facilities and colleges imparting the services; and a loss of to be had housing inventory that might help entice extra families with college-aged youngsters.
Interest within the Waterville place has grown currently, which many attribute to the ongoing revitalization of the metropolis’s downtown. Since 2015, numerous new restaurants have cropped up, a resort is currently being constructed on Main Street and an arts and movie middle is at the horizon. A developer currently purchased the antique Lockwood generators, with plans to create apartments. Maine Life Real Estate Co. Listed the metropolis as having Maine’s quickest-growing real property market in 2017. The range of homes sold and bought in Waterville has extra than doubled from 2008 to today.
“The real estate market in Waterville has gone up exponentially in the final 5 to 10 years,” stated Sara Bowen, govt assistant to the city supervisor, mayor, and solicitor. “That stated, I’m not positive how to gauge whether or not more families were getting into Waterville, however, the real estate has been busier.”
In January, a popular Waterville childcare application introduced it would cut more than half of its slots for youngsters elderly six weeks to five years due to a shortage of investment. The assertion, from The Children’s Place Early Care and Education Center, sparked panic amongst parents inside the area who felt there were not many other great (let alone waitlist-unfastened) options to turn to.
Just 15 of the 21 childcare facilities in Waterville meet the simple regulatory standards outlined with the aid of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Quality for ME program, in step with its on-line database. The Children’s Place is one of three exact with the enterprise’s highest rating.
Across the kingdom, the wide variety of childcare centers and to be had slots has decreased nearly 40% in the ultimate decade, according to the DHHS.
Now, the final results at The Children’s Place are barely more hopeful, with Executive Director Richard Dorian saying that the organization was able to finance 12 more slots than it first of all notion back in January. Still, the variety of youngsters it serves has reduced from 53 to 36. Dorian stated the cuts have been restrained to three- to 5-12 months-olds.
“We closed considered one of our preschool school rooms, and part of our reason turned into there has been a boom in alternatives for older younger kids,” he stated. “It’s less difficult to serve them than it’s miles babies and very young youngsters. The highest want we hear about is for infants and very younger children.”
Area citizens have also gotten creative to help alleviate that need, with partners RaeAnn Lajoie and Jennifer Stevens commencing a brand new forty nine-infant daycare across the Kennebec River close to the Winslow-Vassalboro line this September.
Longtime actual estate agent Don Plourde, of Coldwell Banker Plourde Real Estate, said he’s observed more families buying up available housing stock, but there’s no longer enough of it. Plourde, who has been inside the commercial enterprise for 36 years, says he’s observed a fashion going lower back at the least eight years wherein there have been insufficient homes on the market inside the Waterville location to keep pace with demand, specifically inside the $one hundred,000-$two hundred,000 charge range.