Sacramento, CA

Woodlake residents oppose using clubhouse for childcare

Robert J Hansen
Woodlake residents voicing their opposition to a childcare at Woodlake Park to Council member Sean Loloee on February, 14, 2022.(Photo by Robert J Hansen)

Sacramento, Calif.- by Robert J Hansen

A group of about 20 Woodlake residents voiced their opposition to turning the Clubhouse at Woodlake Park into a daycare and on February 14 met City of Sacramento Councilmember Sean Loloee at the clubhouse to air their dissatisfaction with the City’s plan, claiming they were never notified of it.

“The City has entered into a lease with a provider from Citrus Heights who is paying zero to provide child care,” Woodlake resident Jane Macaulay said. “The City circumvented the community and didn’t notify us.”

In response to the childcare crisis, the City of Sacramento Youth, Parks & Community Enrichment Department partnered with Single Mom Strong (SMS) to provide an affordable childcare option in Sacramento according to a press release by SMS.

“They haven’t taken the time to learn who we are and what we do and why we will be such a great addition to that community,” Tara Taylor, founder of Single Mom Strong, said.

SMS is currently working to address the child care crisis happening in Sacramento according to Taylor.

“The expansion intends to provide low-cost, high-quality child care to that community and we cater to the needs of single parents,” Taylor said.

According to Macaulay, the building is historic and important to the group that the clubhouse be available for community programs such as book clubs, exercise classes.

“We’ve had many events here. We’ve had art shows, candidate forums, public meetings but it’s very hard to access,” Macaulay said.

According to Macaulay, the cost is $50 an hour.

Another Woodlake resident told Loloee that the City is taking a community space away from its residents.

“It doesn’t matter if we can access it on the weekends,” she said. “You have to fight for us.”

Councilmember Loloee said it’s hard to fight for something when there are constant attacks and false information.

“We’re talking about a daycare,” Councilmember Loloee said to the group. “How is this facility going to be used in the next twelve months? Then we got to take this facility away from 30 deserving children.”

Woodlake business owner Tommy Young says there is a schism among the small Woodlake community.

“A faction of Woodlake has protested everything that I know of since the 70’s or 80’s.” Young said. “Whether it’s market rate housing or affordable housing near or in Woodlake, they will protest.”

According to SMS, the agreement still allows residents to utilize the community building outside of business hours.

At a community meeting on February 17, Assistant City Manager Christopher Conlin said the clubhouse has not been used since the beginning of 2020 because of the pandemic but wasn’t used much the years before that.

Conlin said the clubhouse was used 18 times in 2017 and 11 times in 2018. The clubhouse was reserved 41 times to use and of those, just 25 were charged a fee.

“In 2017, of the times it was used, only two of them were community events,” Conlin said. “All the rest of the events were private events. So the center has not had a lot of use.”

Conlin said using the clubhouse for community events is free.

One of the priorities of the Council is to provide more daycare according to Conlin.

“One of the most detrimental things that happened during Covid-19 was people could not get childcare,” Conlin said. “It was a serious issue.”

Taylor said that the target date for opening the daycare is April 1, 2022.

“We will be licensed to serve 30 children from ages two to first grade,” Taylor said. “We need to look at the bigger picture here. People are trying to get back to work. More childcare centers have closed than opened during the pandemic.”

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Robert J Hansen is an investigative journalist and economist. Focused on holding elected officials, police and the courts accountable to the people throughout the greater Sacramento area.

Sacramento County, CA

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