Hearing set for proposed YMCA childcare facility in Port Angeles

$6.7 million project would serve more than 90 children

PORT ANGELES — A conditional use permit for one of three early learning centers being planned by the Olympic Peninsula YMCA in Clallam and Jefferson counties will be the subject of a virtual public hearing before the city of Port Angeles’ hearing examiner.

The hearing, scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 15, can be accessed via the city’s webex platform, https://www.cityofpa.us/984/Live-Virtual-Meetings. Written comments are due prior to Feb. 15 and verbal comments can be made during the meeting. A decision is expected within four months and must be appealed within 15 days.

“We have been working on this since the onset of the pandemic,” said Wendy Bart, YMCA CEO.

“We realized the Peninsula was a childcare desert even before COVID,” she said. “During the pandemic, 20 to 25 percent of providers closed, so it got worse. We asked ourselves, ‘What could be done to address the need?’”

The $6.7 million Port Angeles facility that is the subject of the public hearing will be located at 717, 723, 725 E. Fourth St. near the existing YMCA building on property the YMCA already owns. It will be 8,000 square feet and serve 92 children ages 0 to 5.

The $4.7 million Port Townsend facility will serve up to 42 children ages 0 to 5. It also will provide food boxes to an additional 75 families, and 15,000 meals will be prepared and distributed throughout Jefferson County. It will be built on the Port Townsend High School campus.

The two projects were supposed to be developed in tandem, but the Port Townsend project fell a little behind.

“We are finishing designs. We haven’t applied for permits yet. So, we are a couple of months behind,” Bart said.

The third project is the 7th Haven Early Learning Center, at 1351 Seventh St. on the corner of Seventh Street and Hendricks Street in Port Townsend in partnership with Olympic Community Action Programs.

It is expected to open in this summer or early fall and serve 3- to 5-year-olds.

“We are putting up drywall,” Bart said. “We are almost ready to apply for licensing. We will apply for licensing in March or April, and that takes 90 to 120 days.”

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at brian.gawley@peninsulanews.us.

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