By Mark Fischenich
Free Press Staff Writer
NORTH MANKATO — A new day care center is being planned for upper North Mankato.
It won’t be as big as the Beans Plus center that closed earlier this year after failing to pay rent and not as big as Trinity Daycare, which will close if it loses its appeal of the revocation of its license following several violations involving alleged falsification of records and abuse.
But the proposed Peter Pan Preschool and Child Care Center will be big enough to be North Mankato’s fourth largest licensed child care center if Trinity closes.
Peter Pan Preschool might sound familiar because that was the name of Marsha Madigan’s earlier day care center, which she closed a decade ago when she needed more time to care for ailing parents. The earlier Peter Pan Preschool on Edgewood Boulevard became the Montessori Learning Center
Madigan said she’s been thinking about resurrecting Peter Pan for — well, about 10 years.
“I wanted to get back into it about as soon as I sold the business,” she said. “I missed running the business.”
But Madigan and husband Scott Madigan were focusing more on Mankato prior to the June closing of Beans Plus, the city’s largest child care center with a licensed capacity of 197. When that facility closed, the North Mankato hilltop started to look more attractive again to the North Mankato residents.
While Madigan hasn’t owned a day care in a while, she’s still in practice — serving as director of the Bethlehem Child Care Center in Mankato for four years.
The Madigans hope to be ready to start construction on the new Peter Pan when the ground thaws in March or April. And they’re shooting for a Sept. 1 opening date. The day care is slated for 60 children, infant to pre-school.
That would make it fifth largest in the city, behind Golden Heart Child Care Center on Commerce Drive (capacity of 147), Jesus Loves Me on Monroe Avenue (114), Crossview Covenant Church Child Care (94) and Trinity (90).
Unlike the building where Beans Plus was housed, which received hundreds of thousands of dollars in low-interest loans and tax abatements from the city, the Peter Pan plan simply required a replatting by the North Mankato City Council.
The council agreed to carve up a 13-acre vacant lot that stretches along Timm Road from Lookout Drive to Rolling Green Lane to create a 2.5-acre lot for the day care. That puts the proposed facility just north of the former Beans Plus building, which is now leased by the Minnesota Autism Center.