A new early education center for underprivileged children in Lawrence has taken a big step forward.
On Monday afternoon, Ballard Community Services announced the availability of $250,000 in tax credits awarded from the Kansas Department of Commerce. Ballard Community Services applied for the tax credit in June, and now has learned that it will share in $4.13 million in community tax credits handed out by the state.
“It’s phenomenal for us,” said Dianne Ensminger, CEO of Ballard Community Services. “What that will do is allow us to raise money for a new facility located at 345 Florida.”
The planned Petey Cerf Early Education Center for Children and Families will have space for 88 children, primarily infants and toddlers.
Ensminger said this facility would fill a huge need in Lawrence.
“We are really focusing on infants and toddlers because in this community, there is a very big shortage of infant and toddler early childhood slots for families,” Ensminger said. “Our particular goal is to partner with companies throughout the community that want their employees to have a good quality place for their employees’ children to go, and so we will work with them to make sure that we have slots available.”
The Petey Cerf Early Education Center will be friendly not only for children and families, but for the environment too. The new facility will be built to LEED standards. LEED buildings are constructed with a “green” design, construction and operation systems. The design will aim to improve indoor environmental quality, energy savings and water efficiency, among other environmentally friendly measures.
Under the tax credit program, donors who contribute to the project will receive a dollar-for-dollar credit on their state income taxes and a 25 percent federal tax deduction. Ensminger said a $1,000 donation would cost just $300 after income taxes are figured.
More information is available at the Ballard Community Center, 708 Elm St.