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First up is daycare, grocery store on deck

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LICENSED DAYCARE

More than one year ago it was proposed to build a $600,000 daycare center here. “That is just not feasible. We need a Lidgerwood approach,” said Nathan Frolek, daycare committee chair.

Five days a week Carissa Lane of Lidgerwood drives 30 miles — twice a day — to take her two youngest children to daycare.

That leaves Lane driving 300 miles a week to take 5-year-old Greyson and 1-year-old Quinn to a licensed daycare in Hankinson. “I am ready to be done with this drive,” Lane said, who serves on the daycare committee formed in Lidgerwood to create a licensed childcare facility.

The daycare committee amended its hope of having a licensed facility operational before school starts in August. It has a house, which the group was expected to close on today. What it doesn’t have is staff to run the facility, said Nathan Frolek, who chairs the daycare committee. Still needing to be hired are one full-time curriculum coordinator, a part-time business manager and part-time caregivers for a proposed 18 children, he said.

The committee received a few applications, but wants more for its selection process, Frolek said. “We want this to be a tough decision for us,” he said.

The community has been donating funds to the daycare committee, which is being used to reach its first goal of putting a down payment on the house that seems ideally situated for a daycare, Frolek said. If everything goes as planned while closing on the house and staff are hired, a licensed daycare first will be offered at Bergen Church short term until the house undergoes minor renovations, he said.

Grocery Store

“If I was the public, I would think this (grocery store committee) isn’t doing their job. That’s what I would think if I was in the public,” said Weldon Hoesel, president of the Lidgerwood CDC.

Sam Hinrichs of Lidgerwood can’t wait until Lidgerwood resurrects its grocery store, she said.

The Hinrichs family firmly believes in supporting their community, she said. “I would absolutely shop here. We support shopping local,” she said.

Having a grocery store here is more than convenience considering the closest to Lidgerwood is Miller’s Fresh Foods in Hankinson. The next closest grocery store is more than 60 miles away round trip. Forman used to have a grocery store, but that recently closed, leaving many area communities in a grocery store desert.

More details must be worked out before Lidgerwood can open a grocery store. First a location must be decided and business plan drafted to see if one is even feasible, said Weldon Hoesel, president of the Lidgerwood Community Development Corporation tasked with opening a grocery store. Lidgerwood has been without a grocery store since Lidgerwood Market closed in flames after a fire on Nov. 29, 2018.

The grocery store committee is looking at a number of options such as attracting a partner to fill and run the grocery store, or run a grocery store like a community co-op, Hoesel said. It is a slow process because the committee wants a nice facility that will attract customers from outlying communities of Geneseo, Forman, Cayuga and Claire City, South Dakota, he said.

“The thing right now is location. Once that gets determined, it’s pretty much a go after that,” Hoesel said.

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Karen Speidel is the News-Monitor Media Managing Editor

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