Ocracoke Child Care, Ocracoke, NC. Photo by Peter Vankevich
Ocracoke Child Care. Photo by Peter Vankevich

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Ocracoke Child Care is currently closed for reasons described below. In order to overcome a looming financial  crisis, the board of directors agreed to lease the facility to a local private business for one year.

Below is the statement from the board of directors:

Ocracoke Child Care (OCC) is at a crossroads. For many years, OCC has provided Ocracoke with quality childcare. As many of you know, the center closed its doors in early May of 2017 due to lack of teachers. At that time, all but one OCC board member resigned from the Child Care’s board of directors.

A new board for OCC was established, bringing some new members and some very loyal previous members together. After months of trying to get offerings lined up, the OCC board has realized it needs more resources and more time to bring OCC back to the community as its healthy and vibrant former self.

Unfortunately, the position OCC is currently in also brings with it the stark realization that funds are running out and in the very near future there will be no money in the budget to pay insurance, utilities and other costs of maintaining the building. These costs are over $1,000 per month, even with the building sitting empty.

Over the past several months, the OCC board has had to make some very difficult decisions to preserve what financial resources it has, while still planning for the future. Understanding the difficult position OCC was in, a local business reached out to the OCC board with a proposal to rent the building for a one-year period of time. After a thorough discussion and realizing that without this offer OCC would officially be financially broke, the OCC board accepted the offer at hand with a vote at their Monday, Jan. 22 meeting.

We want the community to know that as the OCC board, we are committed to continuing our efforts to support OCC in its mission and vision of being a vital part of the lives of children and families on this island. We feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity for this year’s time that the rental agreement has given us to formulate a solid and sustainable plan for the future of Ocracoke Child Care.

We know we cannot do this alone. Our current plan includes seeking guidance and support from the Hyde-Beaufort Partnership for Children, various outside business resources and YOU, the community of Ocracoke.

We assure you that we are not ready to abandon ship and we implore you to please come back to OCC, as we need all of your ideas! We want to hear from you! We want to know what YOU, as an Ocracoke community member, need from OCC. Is it full time childcare, or part-time childcare, or maybe evening childcare, play dates, or parenting workshops? Perhaps you have something else in mind different from all of these.

We are open and accessible.  Please bring us any and all ideas you may have to us and help us move forward. The current OCC board members are Mandi Cochran, Tyke Ely, Leslie Monticone, Bob Kremser, Claire Senseney, Doreen Robinson, Celeste Brooks, Krystine Hadley and Mary Bryant. Every one of us is eager to hear from the community, so if you see any of us out and about and have an idea to share, please do.

You can also send an email to ocracokechildcarecenter@gmail.com

We appreciate your support and look forward to continue working for this great community and with this great community!

In response to the Ocracoke Childcare developments, islander Daphne Bennink offered her observations:

As many of you may know Ocracoke has a new tax revenue, the Tourism Development Authority. With this new source of funds there is work underway to further develop a program already in place with Ocracoke Civic & Business Association working to better promote Ocracoke’s tourist industry and consequently our local economy.

Part of this proposed plan includes a visitor center, office space and restrooms. Prior to learning you had leased OCC building, I had been pitching the idea of acquiring use of that space for the purpose stated above. It is a perfect “turnkey” fit for such a use and, in my opinion, would be a win-win partnership as it maintains the building’s role as a community-based and community-serving facility. This was the original intent in creating the facility. I know this as I chaired the board that built it.

I am confused and disappointed that your board chose to engage in leasing the property to a private party without opening any dialogue with the community and therefore not allowing for any external input into your final decision. I can say with confidence that many in the community echo this sentiment .

That being said I understand that you all are acting in what you believe to be the best interest of the property. I would like to propose that your board be open to entering into a dialog regarding a potential acquisition of the OCC property, be it via lease-hold or purchase for the purpose of a community building that could house a visitor center, OCBA offices, county satellite offices etc… It is my understanding that there is currently a one-year lease in place and that these discussions could focus on a term to commence at the end of that lease.

I would like to disclose that while I am a member of the newly appointed TDA board I am writing this to you on my behalf personally and solely and not as a representative of that board.



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  1. I know that OCC is in a hard, hard place, and leasing your building was not a decision that came lightly. However, you have given yourselves a breathing space and will *hopefully* be making more than just operating costs with your new tenant. It is a pretty smart move, actually. It’ll keep the building viable and take the immediate financial burden off.

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