The Bridgeport NEWS
By Jeff Toquinto, News Editor
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Admittedly, Jennifer Trippett was frustrated. The co-director of Cubby’s Childcare Center, which is located on Cherry Street, had just saw months worth of waiting and planning come to an unsuccessful end.
Trippett had tried to have the city rezone property near her nationally certified child care facility rezoned to allow for a new, state of the art structure. After a number of meetings in front of the Bridgeport Planning Commission and several more in front of the Bridgeport City Council, the rezoning request, was denied. Trippett, who wanted to stay in Bridgeport, was no longer certain that was possible.
The next day, still stinging from what took place, Trippett talked with Bridgeport Mayor Jim Christie. Christie suggested something Trippett didn’t think would work and had never considered.
"(Mayor Christie) put me in contact with the Charles Pointe people," said Trippett. "Honestly, I didn’t think it was (financially) feasible, but I went ahead and contacted them."
As it turns out, the prospect was feasible. And now, a half a year after appearing ready to leave the city limits, Trippett will have the new facility she desired and she’ll have it in Bridgeport at Charles Pointe.
"All of the folks at Genesis Partners (the developers of Charles Pointe) have been wonderful," said Trippett. "Jamie (Corton, the managing member of Genesis) has been so helpful. They’ve made this all possible."
The announcement ends the entire matter of Cubby’s future. Like many rezoning requests going before the city, this one not only had residents and those using the facility taking sides, but the debate split the vote on Council before being shot down.
Ultimately, the majority of Council went with the wishes of the residents in the Broadway-Olive area – where the property needing to be rezoned was located – and backed their concerns about parking issues and traffic concerns. Those arguments shouldn’t be a factor in the new location.
Along with being located just off Interstate 79 instead of just off of Main Street in Bridgeport’s congested downtown, the new facility will cover 18,000 square feet (the current facility is 6,000 square feet and uses the Benedum Civic Center).
Trippett said the building’s design, which she said she is responsible for, will have plenty of parking. Also, there will be a 40x40 covered area where children can be picked up in adverse weather.
Trippett said during peak operation times she has 150 attend day care. She hopes that will go to 350 at this location, which will be the number the facility will be licensed to have under roof. Also, there are 40 full- and part-time employees at peak hours. She hopes that will go to 40 full-time, as well as additional part-time help, when operations open at Charles Pointe. The age group will be from six weeks of age to 12 years.
The hope is to have ground broken within a week or two. Site plan approval is needed from the city, which is currently doing the review. Trippett said the goal is to be open by January of 2007.
"If I could have everything I wanted in the building when we looked at doing this two years ago and said this is what I ultimately want, this would be the perfect setup," said Trippett.
Corton is happy with Cubby’s upcoming arrival.
"Cubby’s provides a clean, safe and educational environment for children," said Corton. "We’re happy to include them in our community."
Along with Trippett, her sisters Janelle DeMarco and Jeanette Spatafore are the co-directors.