Eagle Lake and Blue Earth County are teaming up to establish a Forgivable Childcare Loan Program.

The loan program will serve as funds to expand or improve the availability of childcare in small cities and townships across the county, according to City Administrator Jennifer Bromeland.

“Hopefully this’ll be a program, if it’s successful, that will maybe be a pilot program for other counties and cities. So, the need is out there.”

One of the stipulations of the program is that applicants must provide full-time care to at least five children. 

“Because you can be in existence and already operate and still qualify for loan funds to help provide more spots for children at their either in-home or center. When you go around and talk to people looking to move to a community, one of the first things, if they have children, is do I have childcare. That makes a big difference if they’re going to take a job or move to a community.”

Loans can be up to 10-thousand dollars for a home-based licensed center and up to 35-thousand dollars for center-based. The term of the loan is five years with interest only payments due semi-annually. Twenty-percent of the original loan is forgiven annually as long as the center remains in business and continues to make interest payments. After five years of business operations and interest payments, the loan is forgiven in its entirety.

The Eagle Lake Economic Development Authority will review the first application for the program at its meeting on Thursday.