The building at 511 Bridge St. will be reused, while the garage in the back is slated to be demolished. Staff photo by Chance Viles

WESTBROOK — Chase Custom Homes plans on quickly enrolling 100 children late this fall in its new day care facility at the former Rocky Hill Manor facility.

The center at the former assisted living facility at 511 Bridge St. will be about 11,000 square feet. It will have programs for children from infancy through age 12, including before and after school care. Children will be grouped by age in large open rooms that feature their own bathroom or a conjoining bathroom, and there will be an indoor gym for bad weather days.

“This is not just another day care. This will have meaning, direction and guidance for taking these youngsters, putting them through a program and helping them move forward in life,” said John Chase, owner and CEO of Chase Custom Homes.

Chase, who has been in the development business for over 30 years, is building another day care in Gray, which is scheduled to open in August. The two day cares would be partners,  known as The Playhouse.

The Westbrook day care needs final Planning Board approval. The board has scheduled a site walk for July 13.

The day care will fill a big need, Chase said. Many day cares in the Westbrook and Portland area are overbooked and not accepting more children.

“The demand is there, once we get the notice out that we are taking applications, I don’t think it will take long to fulfill the requirements of that building,” Chase said. “We are working on staffing, finding people where this is their passion. There is a lot to running day cares and not everyone can do that. We want the right hires to work with our team.”

He plans to hire 20 trained staff members.

“The need for a day care in Westbrook is great,” Ward 3 Planning Board member Joseph Marden said at a meeting about the proposed facility few weeks back.

“The location is ideal, picture perfect,” Chase said.

It’s location near Congin Elementary School makes for easy pick-up and drop-offs, he said. The former Rocky Hill Manor building will get some updates and renovations, but not a lot of additional work is needed, he said. Plans call for demolishing the parking garage for a parking lot. The yard in back will serve as about 5,000 square feet of play area for the children.

At a Planning Board meeting, residents raised concerns over noise from the children.

“I am not happy about having a day care in my backyard,” resident Mariah Lundy said. “The condo I live in is exactly right in their backyard.”

Lundy, along with a few other residents from the area, said they had concerns about noise, storm water runoff and additional traffic.

“There will not be 100 children outside playing at one time, there might not even be 50 outside together,” said Ashley Moulton, district manager for The Playhouse.  “It is much different than what you would see at a public school playground. This is more outdoor involved play. Children will be playing in  sandboxes, digging for worms, playing in the mud kitchen and reading books in our outside classroom. It isn’t just a run around time.”

Chase plans to introduce natural sound buffers, like greenery around the property, to mitigate any noise.

 

 


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