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Peoria partnership opens childcare center at CityLink bus depot

The CityLink Transit Depot in Downtown Peoria.
Collin Schopp
The CityLink Transit Depot in Downtown Peoria.

A partnership of Peoria area organizations is bringing a new childcare option to downtown’s bustling transit depot.

The Peoria Citizens’ Committee for Economic Opportunity [PCCEO], and CityLink partnered to reopen a childcare center on Southwest Adams Street. The childcare center is for children up to five years old, in line with the federally funded Head Start and Birth to Five programs.

Charles White is the Head Start program coordinator for PCCEO.

“I want people to invest in these children,” he said. “Give these children a fair start, because at the end of the day, they are our future. They’re the ones who'll just stick around here to keep this community thriving and moving forward. So what better way to start while they’re young?”

Peoria County families apply for the program through the PCCEO and, if accepted, receive childcare at no cost. White said the center will operate from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and have a capacity of around 70. Children will be split between 0 to 3-year-old classrooms and 3-to 5-year-old classrooms.

“Everything in the center is brand new,” he said. “We did remodeling, in terms of painting, cleaning all that and then we bought, everything in the center is entirely new.”

The staff also is new. The PCCEO is still working to fill out a roster of 12 teachers and two full-time kitchen and maintenance positions.

White said the location and partnership with City Link is both convenient and provides a wide array of opportunities for parents.

“Now you can have an opportunity to go to work, or look for a job or start doing interviews or whatever other things that you may need to do,” he said. “Because we have your most prized possession and we're taking care of your baby.”

In addition to childcare, White said the PCCEO also can help the parents get in touch with resources and other nonprofits they might benefit from in the downtown area. The organization also has access to adult education resources.

“Since COVID-19, you and I both know that people who had a very good job lost a job,” White said. “So at one point I could afford to pay for private care, but now I need assistance. And that's what we want people to realize is that we are here.”

The center officially opened on Tuesday, Jan. 16. City Link and PCCEO will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the center on Jan. 23.

You can find more information and start the process of applying by visiting PCCEO.org or calling 309-671-3960.

Collin Schopp is a reporter at WCBU. He joined the station in 2022.