Creekstone opens onsite learning and childcare center for employees

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Creekstone Farms Premium Beef LLC, supplier of premium meats and Ark City’s largest employer, celebrated the grand opening of Walnut Valley Learning Center, its new onsite childcare facility, with a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday.

The 20,000-square-foot center will accommodate more than 100 children of employees in a county facing a significant childcare shortage, Creekstone said in a press release.

“The facility is part of Creekstone Farms’ continued efforts to support its employees and be the employer of choice in the area.” the press release stated. “The center will have a meaningful impact on employees with children, but also the broader community, as the facility will free up precious space in other Cowley County childcare centers.”

According to a news release April 4 from Creekstone on the groundbreaking for the facility, cost for the project was roughly $3.5 million. Creekstone said it covered all renovation costs to establish the learning center, while employees pay a monthly fee to utilize its services.

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In February, the Ark City Commission approved an increased “Neighborhood Revitalization District” rebate to help finance the center.

According to the Cowley Courier-Traveler on Feb. 8, the original rebate of 75% of the first $500,000 in increased valuation for seven years was increased up to 90% of the increased property value for 10 years, an estimated total property tax rebate of $1,667,250.

The learning center is a subsidiary of Creekstone Farms, but will operate as a separate entity under the name Walnut Valley Learning Center, LLC.

Attendees included Creekstone Farms CEO Yoshinobu Takahashi; Kansas Department of Commerce Deputy Director, International Division, Randi Tveitaraas Jack; Ark City Manager Randy Frazer; Arkansas City Chamber of Commerce CEO Arty Hicks; Walnut Valley Learning Center Director Lora Walton; Hutton designer Catie Shaffer, and others.

Approximately 50 people attended the event, taking advantage of being the first to tour the new facility, Creekstone said.

“It is an honor to see this dream become a reality,” said Megan Stolle, vice president of HR and EHS at Creekstone Farms during the event. “The pandemic brought a new shift of family values to the hearts and minds of the workforce, and it has been a privilege to work for such a compassionate company to see this project through.”

Creekstone Farms was named the 2022 Business of the Year by the Arkansas City Area Chamber of Commerce.

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