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Council approves plans for day care center

| Monday, March 19, 2001

They still have a few more hurdles to clear, but operators of a proposed child care center in Homestead now have the approval of the borough council.

Council voted unanimously to allow Mothers Touch Day Care Center to operate at 145 E. Eighth Ave.

John Garth, one of a half dozen organizers of the effort who were present for the council vote, said his group is hoping to open the day care's doors in May with between 18 and 27 full- and part-time employees caring for up to 100 children.

Two of those employees - Sheree Moore and Victoria Garth - have 11 years combined experience running home day care centers in Homestead.

Garth said they plan to operate 24 hours a day, so that people working late or overnight shifts at the nearby Waterfront development will have easy access to child care.

'With all the growth down there at the Waterfront, employees need day care, especially 24 hours,' said Rose Bell, who ran the Hill House day care for two years and will be director of the new center.

Use of the Eighth Avenue property for the center was approved on condition that a safe drop-off zone for the children be created.

Council members expressed strong concerns about plans for the drop-off across Eighth Avenue.

'That's a very, very, very dangerous intersection,' Councilwoman Joan DeSimone said.

'That's one of our biggest concerns,' Garth said. 'We have observed the same thing. We have also observed that there is day care in Downtown Pittsburgh, and they survive the same thing.'

But Garth also presented a 'plan B' drop-off and gave council members a copy of a letter he had just received from the owner of a vacant lot at 127 Eighth Ave.

The owner agreed to rent the lot to the day care center, which would mean children would not have to cross the busy intersection.

'Plan B sounds much nicer,' Mayor Betty Esper said.

Garth said the plan will require more work, and the lot may require some renovations to meet borough codes, but 'I think it will be worth it because it will be safer.'

Brandon Keat can be reached at bkeat@tribweb.com or (412) 380-8546.

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