Williston to add more childcare services in 2022

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 5:53 PM CST
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WILLISTON, N.D. - As the city of Williston grows, so does demand for many critical services including childcare facilities. With the help of Williston Economic Development, people around the region can expect more opportunities to come in 2022.

Last year, Economic Development issued $1.75 million in STAR Fund grants toward various projects throughout the region. Of that amount, nearly a third went towards building and expanding childcare facilities, which is a big need for working families.

Along with bringing more box stores and big-name restaurants, more reliable childcare services is also on the list of needs and wants of the community according to business surveys.

“When I had my son in 2016, I tried to go back to work and it was very hard to find childcare or a decent childcare where I would feel comfortable leaving him,” said Mercedes Holmes.

Lack of services led Mercedes Holmes to leave her job and instead open her home as a daycare. Now, she teaches little kids at Coyote Pups Learning Den, one of the latest businesses to provide childcare services. Owner Kenzi Brown says she opened Coyote Pups to address that need.

“Not having a reliable place that you know you can send your kids every day, that makes it hard to go to work, that makes it hard for especially moms to get out of the house,” said Brown.

Coyote Pups has been able to expand to three separate locations around town thanks to Williston Economic Development’s STAR fund. Economic Development has also used the fund with CHI St. Alexius and Light of Christ Church to help them develop their own facilities, which are expected to open this year.

“Now you can find some capacity out there where you can find childcare for your child. It’s still not easy, it still takes work, but I think we are getting there,” said Wenko.

These facilities could provide care for up to 175 children, which Shawn Wenko says will allow more families to come to Williston and promotes business growth by giving parents a chance to work more.

After years of discussion with the City, Williams County, and Board of Higher Education, Williston State College President Bernelle Hirning says they expect their planned childcare facility to be up and running in November. He expects the center to take in at least 50 kids.

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