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Riverside County Board of Supervisors Approve $15 Million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funding for Third District Neighborhood Revitalization, Child Care Facilities, and Economic Recovery Projects

Fri, 21/07/2023 - 05:00

Riverside County, CA – On Tuesday, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors approved the use of $15 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for projects that promote improved economic, health and safety outcomes for residents in the Third District. Four projects will benefit from this allocation, with the largest project receiving $12 million to develop a childcare facility and an interactive discovery space at the French Valley Library.

The French Valley Childcare and Early Childhood Learning Experience project will construct a 9,000 sq. ft. childcare facility and a 3,400 sq. ft. interactive early childhood development facility connected to the French Valley Library, in partnership with First 5 Riverside County and the Riverside County Library System. The project will also feature a learning gallery, rotating exhibits, and virtual reality events.

“This is an investment in families, in young people, and in communities to increase their opportunity for success and to raise our residents’ quality of life,” said Third District Supervisor Chuck Washington. “As people returned to the workforce this year, many encountered a barrier created by the shortage of quality childcare and virtual learning options.”

Once complete, the interactive discovery space will become a family-friendly destination for discovery and exploration for all Riverside County residents. Most importantly, it will also have activities that empower children with critical components of creativity: imagination and originality, flexibility, decision making, communication and self-expression, motivation, and collaboration.

“The Riverside County Library System is excited to partner with First 5 Riverside County Children and Families to create a family-friendly campus for discovery and learning through creativity,” said Riverside County Office of Economic Development Director Suzanne Holland.

Considering that access to public libraries and adequate learning materials has been proven to be a major factor in the successful outcome of youths, the interactive discovery space will assist with closing the education gap created by the pandemic. Further, the adjacent library and new childcare facility will reduce the stress placed on parents looking for quality childcare options. Access to stable, high-quality childcare helps parents improve their labor productivity by increasing work hours, missing fewer workdays, and allowing them to pursue further education.

“The early years of a child’s life are the foundation for their future success, especially during the first five years when 90 percent of their brain is still being developed,” said First 5 Executive Director Tammi Graham. “Riverside County Children and Families Commission is proud to have approved up to $4 million to support French Valley early childhood education and the interactive learning facility.

Predevelopment is underway for the French Valley Childcare and Early Childhood Learning Experience project. Construction is expected to begin in winter 2025, with completion targeted for fall 2026.