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Demolition of a burnt-out house next to Shellsburg’s elementary school began Tuesday, as snow fell in the region for the first time this season. The home caught fire Aug. 22.

Cedar River Billboard owner Shadoe Vogt purchased the double city lot in early October and plans to have a daycare built on the property and ready for lease before the next school year starts. “It is cheaper to build a daycare than send my kids to another town,” he said.

According to Vogt, the biggest project hurdle in building from scratch with all new services is the time frame, as he wants to start construction in early spring, 2020. Several project details are pending and rezoning the lot from residential to commercial is necessary. “With all rewards, come risks... If for some reason it does not work out, the property has the potential for a lot of things, ” he said.

Vogt’s driving force behind the daycare venture came last March when he and his wife had their second child, a little girl. There was no daycare available for her and their “amazing” in-home provider for their four-year old son only watches children two-years old and up.

Because of this, Vogt watches his infant daughter three days a week and his mom helps out a couple days a week, as well, while his wife works as a Sonographer at Virginia Gay Hospital in Vinton.

As a city council member with a need for in-town daycare, Vogt began asking other Shellsburg parents about the problem. Many said they take their kids from Shellsburg to other area towns including Cedar Rapids so they can work.

Vogt also noticed on Facebook some first-day school pictures of preschoolers from Shellsburg who were attending half-day sessions out-of-town. According to Vogt, traveling to other communities can be expensive and possibly dangerous during the winter commute.

Shellsburg offers everthing from an 18-hole golf course to a new $1 million dollar street project and now is the right time to invest in its growth, Vogt said.