Friday, April 11, 2008

Guthrie day care

Hackles are raised over the location of a day care in Guthrie.

The city council met Tuesday night during its regularly scheduled meeting in a standing-room only crowd to debate the facility. Kathy Smith, owner of Guthrie Schoolhouse Daycare, is wanting to purchase a building next to the Opera House in downtown Guthrie. A November fire destroyed Smith's business — and home — forcing her to relocate. Now Smith is wanting to place her residence and business at a Ewing Street location.

Guthrie's Planning and Zoning board voted 3-2 not to allow the day care to relocate, saying that it is not part of the "aura of what downtown should be." The building in question is a conditional use building, a day care is one of the businesses that would have to be approved.

While Guthrie is in need of a day care, perhaps a downtown historic building is not the best place.

Guthrie has an alcohol referendum that could someday be used. There is also safety issues since the building faces the town's main drag and would put children exiting the building on the street. State fire laws are also on book that require day cares to have amenities that the historic building does not have and ordinances exist that says you cannot compromise the building's historic value by adding them.

The Smiths and the city should work together to find a compromise to the situation. Remember the true losers would be the kids.


Anonymous Kathy Smith said...

I am pleased that so many people are interested in the safety of Guthrie children! When I first moved to the area, I was horrified to see children as young as 4 years old riding their bicycles alone downtown, even crossing the "highway" of Park and Ewing Streets all alone, and no one else seemed to be concerned for their safety. It is refreshing to see that the trend has changed and now everyone is getting involved in making sure our daycare children, if not unsupervised neighborhood children, are safe.

To clarify, if the downtown building is licensed for childcare, the back alley off of Third Street would be the entrance and exit for the children - not in front of the building. We will be adding parking spaces in the rear, in conjunction with the Foster Care agency which is now housed in the Opera House. This should abate any safety concerns about traffic issues.

The Fire Marshall requires safety features that I will need to implement such as hard wired smoke detectors and possibly a sprinkler system, but I don't believe that any will be in conflict with city ordinances. Remember, this is a family childcare, licensed for 12, not a childcare center.

We lived in one of the oldest homes in Guthrie, and did not do anything that would compromise the historic value of it, why would we alter the historic charm of 109 Ewing? Again it is refreshing to see citizens involved - showing concern for the look of our downtown, especially considering we have allowed the "Freeman" buildings downtown to remain not only an eyesore, but a threat to public safety for years. I hope this newfound concern for historic "auras" translates into a speedy resolution to these deteriorating city treasures - hopefully not as the Fire Marshall stated to me on April 17th that those buildings need to come down.

Please note that 109 Ewing would only be a temporary location for our home and daycare. We plan to continue our search for a suitable home, or begin rebuilding within a few years.

Thanks for your concern,

10:45 AM, April 19, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most cities with zoning do not allow daycares in "downtown business districts." That's what zoning is for, to keep things in their place. Just like most people wouldn't want a pool hall next to their house. Everything should have its place, and daycares do not need to be in the busier downtown district. I think a lot of people feel for you in this situation, but rules are rules.

11:55 PM, April 23, 2008  

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