TULSA - Many Tulsa residents in a neighborhood by Whitney Middle School are fuming after a permit to build an early education facility was approved.
Residents say a new Educare facilty off South 67th East Ave will bring more traffic and crime to their neighborhood.
Nearly 80 neighbors in the South Sheridan and 21st Street area signed a petition to keep the center out. The presenter of the petition, Molly McKay, would not comment after Tuesday's vote.
Right now there are two Educare centers in Tulsa and a third is on the way. The centers are public-private partnerships providing daycare and education for low income children.
"It's a great program, no doubt about it. But we have a great program at our facilty," said Laura Briley, president of Day Schools child development centers. They have a private child care center two blocks away from where the new facility will be.
"Our child care is accredited and meets the needs of the children in the area. And so it's basically going to put my school out of business," Briley said.
Many residents spoke up at the meeting, agreeing their neighborhood doesn't need another daycare. They worry traffic will get worse since there are already three schools there.
At a time when several schools are closing across the city because of budget woes, residents wonder why millions will be spent on a new facility.
"We are taking children away from their home schools, emptying those schools, so we have empty buildings. And we suggest they put an Educare facility in one of those buildings," Briley said.
Councilor Chris Trail represents this neighborhood. He says updating old buildings is not the solution.
"It's just not cost effective from what I understand," he said.
Trail says research shows there's a demand for Educare's services. The center requires parents to be employed
He pointed out crime rates did not rise in neighborhoods around the other two Educare centers.
"This is just trying to give less fortunate people, just gives them a chance like everyone else. Because education is key to the future," Trail said.
The project will be financed with school bond money and private donations.
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