Plans for a day care center in Crystal City have encountered a snag because the parents who want to open the center lack loan guarantees and have been unable to persuade some of the businesses there to back them.
Jessie Marshall, chairman of the Crystal City Working Parents Inc., a cooperative that hopes to open the center, said the parents need $40,000 to $50,000 in loan guarantees to get the money from the National Cooperative Bank for insurance, equipment and other start-up needs.
Marshall said that she sent two letters in March to major corporations doing business in the Crystal City employment corridor asking each to put up $10,000 in guarantees, but that she has received no response.
"It's their employes who will be using the center," she said. "I'm getting frustrated, disappointed and somewhat angry that the corporations, to whom $10,000 isn't that much, can't see their way clear to at least contact us.
"They wouldn't have to put up actual money for the guarantees, just say they'd put it up," said Marshall, an attorney with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office in Crystal City.
She said that the demand for day care centers in the area is so great that the parents' privately run center, Crystal Kid Center, should be a financial success and that the corporate backers would not have to worry about the parents' defaulting.
Nell Hurley, a Navy employe who is a member of the cooperative, said that the parents have spent "hundreds if not thousands of hours in the last year" to get the center open.
Hurley, a Crystal City resident, said she now spends two hours a day taking her two children to a day care center in Alexandria and would like the convenience of a center closer to home.
The parents won approval from the Arlington County Board in February to open the center, which would be in space donated by the Charles E. Smith Co. in the Crystal House I apartment building at 1900 S. Eads St.
Marshall said the Smith Co., besides donating space, has already spent $10,000 to $15,000 on the center, which will accomodate 82 children ages 2 to 5.
She said she does not want to ask the Smith Co. for more money because the parents "don't want the center to become the Charles E. Smith Day Care Center."
She said she has had many inquiries from parents who would like to enroll their children at the center, but many of them have been reluctant to pay the $50 reservation fee.
"It's a bit of a Catch-22 because people don't want to commit themselves to a center they can't see," Marshall said. "But if somebody doesn't commit, there will be nothing to see."
The parents had hoped to open the center last month, but are now facing an August opening. But, Marshall said, "If we can't get the loan for the start-up costs, then we just won't open."