Dear Concerned Citizens,
We want to sincerely thank you and we are encouraged by the initial outpouring of support by our community and those who care about the children of Union County. World of Wonders’ primary goal is to remain in business so that it can continue to service the children and families in the community and to find a resolution that meets the needs of all organizations involved.
We have received many questions regarding the public statement posted by the Union County Board of Developmental Disabilities in April, 2017. In response, we hope to address your questions and concerns:
In the early 1990’s, WOW developed the concept in collaboration with the UCBDD to integrate handicapped and non-handicapped children in an effort to benefit both groups as well as the community. It was the first collaborative effort of its kind in Ohio.
In January, 1991, the UCBDD passed a resolution to support the efforts of WOW to construct a building on the Harold Lewis site. The resolution established that all construction costs and the operation of the building were the sole responsibility of WOW. UCBDD funds were not to be utilized.
On July 10, 1991, the UCBDD wrote a letter to WOW “applauding the efforts” of WOW “in its plan to construct a facility adjacent to the Harold Lewis School.” Therein, the UCBDD stated that it “supports your efforts to raise the necessary funds for the construction of your facility and wishes to assist in the development of the capital construction fund grant.”
As a non-profit child care and learning center, WOW derives its operations funding primarily from tuition payments.
WOW raised $417,000 and was presented with grant monies for the building project. The total cost for the project was just over $1.2 million, including state and local participation.
On September 20, 1993, WOW entered into an Architect’s Agreement with the firm, Withers Design Group, for the design and construction of the facility.
In addition to the significant time, energy, efforts, and funds contributed to the planning and construction of the facility, WOW has also invested significant sums for structural repairs, maintenance, and improvements.
The agreements referenced by the UCBDD in its statement fail to address WOW’s ownership interest and significant contribution and investment in the facility and they do not provide a basis to forcibly evict WOW in the manner that is now being threatened.
In a letter dated July 7, 1999, the UCBDD communicated its recognition that the building would not exist but for WOW and promised to compensate WOW for its financial contribution to the construction of the facility.
In a letter dated August 8, 2002 from the Union County Board of Commissioners to WOW, the Commissioners represented that, “[i]t is only fair to recognize that [WOW] would expect some compensation for the equity that they have put into the facility over the years. We recognize that a lion’s share of the cost to the facility as well as the necessary repairs that were needed in the facility have been borne by your system.
In August, 2013, WOW met with the directors of UCBDD, who assured WOW that they had the right to stay at the property and continue to function if that is what it chose to do. The UCBDD agreed that the prior agreements entered into were poorly written, did not adequately describe the parties’ intent, and that the idea that WOW could be forcibly removed was ridiculous.
WOW has indicated repeatedly that it merely wishes to stay in business. In a good faith effort to resolve this dispute and move on, WOW has agreed to relocate and to take out loans, freeze salaries, raise tuition, and raise funds in order to move to a lower standard facility that would simply allow it to remain in business. WOW is and has been more than willing to adapt so that it can stay in business and continue to service its children and the community
The “final offer” indicated by the UCBDD is not reflective of WOW’s equitable interest and contribution to the building. But more importantly – and the only factor that WOW truly cares about – the UCBDD offered to make payments that would not allow WOW to obtain a loan that would be necessary to relocate and remain in business. The UCBDD conveniently omitted this from its statement, along with other material facts. WOW has yet to receive an offer that would simply allow it to stay in business.
WOW employs 20 people who have devoted their lives to teaching young children in the community and over 220 parents and caregivers rely on the services of WOW in order to go to work each day.
WOW is the provider of daycare for over 1/3 of the children in licensed childcare centers in Marysville, Ohio. The action now being threatened by the UCBDD and the Commissioners would lead to WOW’s employees losing their jobs as well as parents and caregivers losing child care services. Without WOW, there are not enough childcare spots available to provide care and education to all of the working families in the area.
Should this matter go to court, the UCBDD will use your taxpayer monies to pursue a result that will eliminate jobs and put WOW and the childcare and education services that it provides permanently out of business.
If you have any further questions, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to answer them in a timely manner.
Save World of Wonders