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Newest Childcare Center in Door Co. Identifies Future Location

Posted at 4:58 PM, Dec 28, 2023
  • Video shows the planned location for Children First Development Center.
  • By the summer of 2024, its founders hope to open their doors.
  • They will be able to care for 76 children.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

The newest childcare center in Door County is hoping to open its doors this summer. I’m your Door County neighborhood reporter Katlyn Holt, and the location for Children First Development Center is right here in Sturgeon Bay.

It'll help fill a void in the childcare desert...

“A lot of weight lifted off our shoulders, because it's something that you know, is such a need,” said Gerlikowski.

Courtney Gerlikowski, a mother of two, says more licensed childcare options are needed in Door County. This is an issue I’ve been following for months.

After their previous childcare center closed, she and her husband worried about what it would mean for their careers.

“With us being working full time parents and not having childcare, we are forced to possibly make decisions where we wouldn't be working,” said Gerlikowski.

Thankfully, relief came for the Gerlikowski’s at the right time, their youngest child will be attending a new daycare that's going to open in the new year.

"It's set up with pretty much everything we need. There's a couple updates and construction things that we're doing," said Lehman.

Kayla Lehman is the co-founder and administrator for Children First Development Center, Inc.

She says the Door County YMCA has agreed to sell its property at 1743 Egg Harbor Road, which was known as the Barker Center Property.

"Timeline wise, we're looking at ultimately probably finishing the sale by March 1st, [and] starting construction immediately, “said Lehman.

Lehman and co-founder Lorie Torbecksaid the 5,566 square foot space is perfect for their new center as it is currently home to Door Community Child Development Center, which is moving to an expanded facility.

“Some of the flooring could use an update as well as one of the larger room could use a permanent wall through it,” said Lehman.

They plan to have 76 children at their center ages six weeks to four years old and currently have a waitlist of 50 children.

They are currently reviewing policies and fundraising, with the goal of raising $750,000, which will cover the building purchase, updates, and equipment and materials for the rooms.

“United Way of Door County will continue to be our fiscal sponsor until we're granted 501(c)(3) status from the IRS,” said Lehman. “It's nice to know that we're going to be able to help families is that major thing.”

Lehman shared with me that they are currently accepting gently used toys and books for their facility, you can contact them at: