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Around 20 people gathered Thursday afternoon to hear Governor Nixon announce some big news: an early-childhood program would receive a $923,160 grant and other support to build a licensed day-care/learning facility for Richmond kids ages 6 months to 3 years.
The 6,594-square-foot building would be built in a vacant field next to the existing Missouri Valley Head Start building, which is contiguous to Richmond’s city limits at the intersection of Business 10 and Highway 10.
Nixon said the Richmond-area project would be the only new construction among four grants announced through the Missouri Smart Start Initiative. Other grant recipients are in Kansas City, Jefferson City and Van Buren, a city in the southeastern Missouri.
Gov. Nixon announced his Smart Start program as an emphasis for his second term, saying it would expand early learning for more Missouri children and help them succeed when they start school and later enter the work force.
The governor had kind words for Missouri Valley Community Action Agency, which operates Richmond’s Head Start school and provides other programs and assistance for low-income recipients.
“I want to thank you for what you do, not when the governor’s here or the press is here, but when a parent drops the future off here and you take over,” Nixon said, alluding to the Head Start teachers in the room. “Everybody really stepped up to make sure our kids are ready to be competitive in the 21st Century.”
Nixon said MVCAA’s grant application emerged as one of the best in a heated competition.