Santa Monica is a step closer to having its first city-sponsored child-care center.
The City Council approved the construction contract and will begin to negotiate with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District to see if the schools are interested in operating the facility.
The $298,100 center is to house 52 youngsters during its operating hours at Marine Park. It will be open to city employees, residents near the park, and, if space is available, the public.
It will be subsidized by the city at annual rate of between $131,231 and $183,695, so low-income city employees will be able to afford the services. Monthly fees for each youngster will be between $400 and $600, with $100 and $200 subsidies available for low-income families.
The center will displace some community groups that used the park's facilities for meetings. The city staff is attempting to accommodate the groups at different parks, a staff member said.