SYRACUSE – A rezoning request for a proposed solar operation by the Wawasee Community School Corp. and concern for the lack of child care in Syracuse had many seats filled at the Syracuse Town Council meeting Tuesday night.

Kosciusko County Area Planning Commission Director Dan Richard brought a recommendation by the commission for the rezoning request to be approved. Several representatives from the school corporation were in the audience.

Richard said the 19.6 acres of land at the high school are zoned public use. The school wouldn’t be able to have a solar operation with that zoning, so it was requesting that parcel of land be rezoned to agricultural.  Richard said that portion of land is being used as a bus barn and they would still be able to do that with the rezoning to agriculture. The rest of the high school property would remain as public use.

Council members approved the rezoning ordinance.

Some Syracuse parents were also at the meeting to express concern about the lack of child care in Syracuse.

Nathan Scherer was the spokesperson and said he learned of a coalition in Warsaw developed by Kosciusko County and other entities to address child care and early education in Kosciusko County.

“I feel like this part of the county is left out in the cold,” Scherer said and added that he hoped the council could check into it. “Especially with the closing of Natural Wonders and Lakeland Day Care – it’s left a big hole and it’s hard to attract workers if there’s no child care.”

A major fire caused the closing of Lakeland Learning Center/Day Care over a year ago.

Scherer said he and the other parents present are all professionals and this lack of child care impacts them greatly. Councilman Larry Siegel said no one has talked to the council about this and proceeded to attempt to recruit Scherer to spearhead a committee.

Scherer said he was just there to bring attention to the issue and get the leaders of the community to take action.

“I’m here to make sure people like me get heard,” he said.

Councilman Paul Stoelting said it was his understanding that the reason Natural Wonders closed was because they couldn’t get employees. He said, “It was always a problem in a town like this to get young people to come back – if we want them to come here to work we have to have child care.”

Council President Larry Martindale said he would work with Scherer or other parents on this issue. Scherer said Councilman Tom Hoover had told him previously that he was on board.

In other business, the council approved:

• An ordinance amending the salary ordinance to extend the training and consulting services by former town manager Henry DeJulia through the end of May at a cost of $675 a week.

• The purchase of five self-contained breathing apparatus for Turkey Creek Fire Territory at a cost of $41,654.36 from TJ Nowak Supply Company, Fort Wayne.

• A transfer of easements between the Indiana Department of Transportation, the town of Syracuse and the Syracuse-Wawasee Chamber of Commerce, which accepted payment of $3,000 for the “Welcome to Syracuse” sign that will need to be removed when the roundabout is built at U.S. 6 and Ind. 13.

• A contract with Bose Public Affair Group for consulting work on projects.