Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Add another element to your comprehensive plan

The American Planning Association's June issue of Planning magazine includes an article about child care as an element of a community's infrastructure. The article, "Putting Child Care in the Picture," includes this quote:
When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast of Mississippi in August 2005, Chevron executives moved quickly to restart the Pascagoula refinery and get gas flowing again. They also took stock of other types of infrastructure, including an often overlooked one: child care.

"After the hurricane, I understood how little I knew about how interconnected everything was, how everything could disappear overnight," says Steve Renfroe, a member of Chevron's leadership team. "A disaster of the magnitude of Katrina has the power to stop the economy, but how do you restart it? We used portable electric generators to generate the fuel we needed to restart the refineries. Child care is like that generator. It enables parents to go back to work — a key factor in getting the rest of the economy back up and running."
The article goes on to mention several policy options planners can use to accommodate the need for child care, from zoning exemptions to impact fees on developers. Including child care facilities when planning new transit stations is also mentioned.

As for Chevron, the company partnered with Mississippi State University to leverage $500,000 in Chevron seed money to raise an additional $1.5 million to rebuild and resupply 40 child care centers in Jackson, County, Mississippi.

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