KENWOOD — After 26 years in Kenwood, the Creative Mansion Children’s Academy day care is closing its doors and is selling its building and everything in it.
The day care couldn’t compete with new day cares opening in the neighborhood as the facility took a difficult hit from infrequent and declining funding from the state, according to Executive Director Myke Gerring.
He said the day care has now sold off its historic Georgian revival-style mansion at 4745 S. Ellis Ave. to a private owner that wants to convert it back into a 6,800-square-foot private residence. He said the sale has not yet closed and could not discuss details.
The house was last listed for $895,000.
Gerring said the twin blow of new competition from two new University of Chicago-sponsored day cares and other centers and the loss of state funding during the ongoing budget crisis in Springfield doomed the Christian day care at 4745 S. Ellis Ave.
“We’ve been struggling with enrollment, we’ve been running around in circles with funding,” Gerring said. “If we’d gotten another 30 kids we’d be in a position where we’d have broken even.”
Gerring said about 35 percent of the center’s funding comes from the state and it was serious burden when payments started coming less frequently and then stopped entirely from January to July of last year.
“You never really get caught up, that affected us greatly,” Gerring said. “That had a big impact on people who wanted to come.”
He said it became increasingly difficult to attract parents to the program that often sends kids on to selective-enrollment schools and competitive private schools because parents were afraid their eligibility for state programs would soon be cut.
“We have a limited number of scholarships, but those only go so far,” Gerring said. “People can’t go for free.”
The remaining 35 children of the center with space for 86 kids will have their last day of day care on Thursday.
After the last kids are gone, the center will start selling off all of its remaining lockers, toys and other equipment during an estate sale from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The floor-to-ceiling stained glass windows, walnut woodwork, five fireplaces and a 2,200-square-foot coach house.
It’s unclear what the new owners have in mind for the property, but much of its exterior is protected by the Kenwood Historic District.
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