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The Importance of Childcare to a Community

A community is made up not just of residents but also of the businesses and services that support them. Childcare is an essential service that enables a community to thrive. Fairfax, and much of Renville County is underserved when it comes to child care facilities.

To improve the accessibility, affordability, and quality of child care in the City, it is essential that the we collaborate with partners in creating new spaces and advocating for the community’s needs.

The four keys to increasing access to quality child care are:

  1. Number of Spaces. One of the biggest issues is the insufficient number of spaces to meet the demand for child care. The most pressing needs are spaces for infants/toddlers and school-age children.

  2. Location of Spaces. Child care spaces need to be located close to home and school areas.

  3. Utility of Spaces. Underserved population groups such as immigrants, newcomers, single parents, families with children with special needs, etc., need to be able to access child care services and supports.

  4. Availability of Spaces. Child care options with non‐traditional or extended hours are needed.

It will take a variety of stakeholders to meet the demand, and that is why the City of Fairfax and Renville County are offering up to $20,000 in grants for people who want to work out of their home or another location.

New childcare businesses can start up with grant funds for training, licensing, curriculum, furniture, toys, outdoor play equipment and more. Funding is available until Dec. 31, 2023.

Grant funds come from the Fairfax and Renville County Economic Development Authority. The Renville County Childcare Forgivable Loan Program can assist with new or existing childcare providers:

• Home childcare providers are eligible for up to $5,000 in forgivable loans.

• Childcare centers are eligible for up to $10,000 in forgivable loans to capacity expansion.

• Loans are for five years with 20% forgiven for each year of operation after the loan is received. Loan repayments are deferred for five years, or until providers cease operation, whichever is first.

If you have questions, please reach out to Andrea Merkel at 507-426-7255 or

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