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City relents in effort to expel day care; neighbors upset

Learning Years has made adequate fixes

Nov. 12, 2008

The Learning Years day care center will stay in business after making improvements requested by the city to its property at 932 S. 60th St.

In June, the city considered revoking the day care center’s special-use permit because of a litany of problems, such as high weeds, a deteriorating building exterior and inadequate handicap parking.

The Learning Years got time to fix the problems, however, and city officials said Nov. 5 they were satisfied with the improvements.

Stricter enforcement

Because the area is an important part of their long-range redevelopment plans, city officials have stepped up efforts to enforce the permits. In particular, 60th Street serves as a main gateway to West Allis and is close to the Six Points redevelopment.

The council previously revoked the permit of University of Wisconsin-Extension, which resided in the same building, due to similar conditions.

The West Allis-West Milwaukee School District owns the building, the former Roosevelt School, and leases space to the Learning Years.

Bad neighbor?

The council’s decision to allow the Learning Years to stay will not sit well with some of its neighbors, including 22-year residents Joe and Terri Vento.

Terri Vento told the council in October that the couple is selling their home because of problems tied to the day care center. The play area next to her house has resulted in excessive noise, garbage and dirty diapers spewed in her lawn, she said. She considers it an unsafe environment.

“The Learning Years has turned my home into a hell,” Vento said.

Other neighboring residents and business owners told similar stories when the issue was presented to the council in June.

Solutions to problems

City officials and others said the problems are not insurmountable.

Responding to Vento’s observation that the playground was on the opposite side of the building when it served as an elementary school, city officials said they might be able to work with neighbors and the Learning Years to realign the property.

A man representing the Learning Years, who declined to give his name, said problems were exaggerated and that the day care center could work out differences with neighbors.

Attorney Roger Pyzyk, representing owner Laura Cagle, said in June that the day care spent tens of thousands of dollars on improvements.

Mark Schaaf can be reached at (262) 446-6605.

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