WOOD RIVER, Neb. — A community devastated by floods turns heartache into opportunity.
The flooding left Wood River with a vacant building, when the nursing home closed. But there's a group that's been looking for a home, and now they've found it.
Spending summer at the pool got an upgrade when the community opened its new aquatic center in 2018.
It's a popular place for families, but working moms and dads who need child care have limited options.
There are just a few in–home providers, and parents say it's not enough, as a visioning group identified a child care center as a major priority.
Elizabeth Troyer-Miller said, “How do we grow our community, make it a place people want to be and grow their families and invest in community. We see this as being a really vital piece of that. It's chicken or egg, what comes first, childcare, housing, all those things we see linked hand in hand.”
The Stick Creek Kids committee was formed, and had planned to build a child care center.
But when Good Samaritan Society closed the nursing home after the flood, Mayor Greg Cramer saw an opportunity.
“I'm really happy with Good Samaritan they gave us, sold us that building for $100,000. The taxable value is $1.4 million,” he said of plans to buy the building.
That gets Stick Creek Kids in business for less than expected, giving them more money for operating costs. Troyer-Miller said they’d like to have a couple of years of funding in place, to ensure they can be sustainable.
They see the building as a gift from the Good Samaritan Society.
“Thank you to them for investing in our project,” Troyer-Miller said.
The mayor says the town is growing. Cramer said two new houses by the swimming pool sold in days, and they've got a new subdivision in the works...
And they see a child care center as a way to attract more families.
"If we keep this rolling, it's going to be a good thing for our community," Cramer said.
Just as they invested in the pool, community leaders like Elizabeth Troyer-Miller say Stick Creek Kids reinforces their commitment to families, especially after the flood.
"It's a project we hope can bring some hope that progress is happening," she said.
The mayor said Stick Creek Kids will be the legal entity that owns the building. The community has wanted a new library, and this just may be the place for that as well, as they consider other partners.
The closing date is set for July 12.