U.S. Senate panel OKs $200K for addition at Mini O'Beirne Crisis Nursery

State Journal-Register
July 23, 2010
By: Amanda Reavey

A U.S. Senate committee has approved $200,000 in funding for an addition to the Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery.

Mini O’Beirne executive director Kathleen Heyworth said extra space is much needed for the nursery at 1011 N. Seventh St.

“We’re just outgrowing the nursery,” she said after hearing the news Thursday. “We just need office space right now. The staff is in the basement, and I’m in the attic. We don’t even have a conference room where we can meet with our families. We use the church across the street for conference rooms.”

Heyworth said the nursery also would like to have a bigger play area for the children.

The agency provides emergency, temporary care for at-risk children or those whose parents are undergoing some type of crisis.

The federal funds are part of more than $15 million for Illinois transportation and economic development projects approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, according to a news release from U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin’s office.

The funding still has to be approved by the full Senate, the House and the president.

Mini O’Beirne serves more than 2,000 children each year.

When it opened in 1989, the agency had 400 admissions.

The nursery has nine full-time employees and seven part-timers. The nursery has been at its current location since 1994. Heyworth said staff would like to stay there as opposed to build someplace else.

“We love the nursery itself because it is so homey. It’s a happy place, and the environment is really wonderful for kids. We just need more of it,” she said, noting it’s also on the bus line and close to the hospitals.

She said the nursery could add on in its playground area and where its carriage house is. And federal funds would be a huge help.

“This is a tough time for all of us non-profits, a very tough time. We’re losing state money, we lost city money,” she said. “It seems like every year the need becomes greater and the money becomes less.”

Funding for other projects

According to Durbin’s release, other Springfield-area projects approved for federal funding by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday include:

$500,000 to construct a new west-side location for the Springfield YMCA

$2 million to build a three-legged intersection to allow public access to the new Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Lincoln