The Crestview City Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday supporting the construction of a childcare development center (CDC) in the greater Crestview area to serve military families in the region.
- The resolution comes after the Department of the Air Force issued a notice in August that it intends to prepare an environmental impact statement assessing potential impacts of constructing one or more new CDCs north of the Eglin Test and Training Complex at Eglin Air Force Base.
According to the city, the greater Crestview area, similarly to the state of Florida as a whole, continues to experience population growth following the COVID pandemic. The city says that in the recent past, the local area has also experienced substantial population growth following the establishment and expansion of various missions on Eglin Air Force Base and surrounding installations.
The city says the population increases are impacting various public and private services offered to city residents and the surrounding area. The city says that while it and the county government have more control over managing public services, they have less control over private businesses such as childcare.
- “As the population increases, the demand for childcare also increases, and in our current growth trend, we see less and less available childcare capacity in the city and surrounding area as time goes on,” wrote Barry Henderson, Development Services Director, in the Staff report.
The city has tried to alleviate the shortage by meeting with private schools, developers and the University of West Florida’s Small Business Development Center. According to the city, having a military CDC in the area would help Department of Defense employees on waiting lists for childcare services.
“This will help those employees that are currently on the waiting list for childcare services with the DoD and will also decrease capacity-related pressures on public childcare centers,” wrote Henderson.
- Secondary benefits could include increased local job opportunities and available childcare spots for non-military families, potentially reducing traffic on Highway 85 from commuting, the city said.
The Department of the Air Force is considering four potential properties for the CDC, including one owned by the city near the Crestview Bypass and three others also near the bypass, according to Bolduc.
Additionally, Bolduc told the council that the CDC could potentially have other benefits, such as housing a Veterans Affairs facility with services like a pharmacy.
“I think it’s just important to continue to provide some tools in the toolbox for the leadership on base that the government of the city of Crestview, supports the idea of a CDC in our area,” he said.