A popular Lodi daycare program, at risk of shutting down due to rent costs, may continue for at least one more year, depending on tonight's Lodi City Council vote.
Camp Hutchins has been run by Lodi Health, formerly Lodi Memorial Hospital, since 1998. The hospital paid the city $1 a year to lease the space after agreeing to take it over as a service to Lodi. That lease ended in August 2012, leaving parents wondering about the future of their children's daycare.
In addition to the token rent costs, the city has absorbed wear and tear costs related to the tenant's use of the space, including $2,400 to replace a worn-out countertop several years ago.
In December 2012, the city council gave directions to staff to negotiate a new lease that would not require the city to subsidize the private daycare. Two months later, Lodi Health notified parents that the program would close in July.
"We were under the impression they were done. But they came back and said they decided to give it a go," said Jeff Hood, director of the city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services department.
After petitions circulated among parents, Carol Farron, spokeswoman for Lodi Health, announced the hospital would agree to a new lease with the city.
According to the new lease, Lodi Health would pay $2,788 a month in rent and utilities to continue Camp Hutchins and Adult Day Care. Lodi Health would be responsible for interior repairs, maintenance and janitorial services, while the city would continue to maintain exteriors.
This lease would be active for one year, with two one-year options to continue.
"Everything is dependent on the outcome of city council vote. Once they agree to the rent, we'll go ahead and send a letter to parents to talk about where we go from here," said Farron.
In informal conversations with parents, Farron said many were willing to pay increased fees to help cover those costs.
Camp Hutchins is located in the northwest corner of the Hutchins Street Square building, near the Oak Street playground. Parents pay up to $142 a week for full-time preschool and daycare services for children ages 3 to 5. Sixty students are currently enrolled, according to director Jill DeGagne. The center is open for child care from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at email@example.com.