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Day care center forced to close
For many parents and their children, the closing of Mary House Day Care in Brunswick will come as a shock.

Today, parents and grandparents will pick up children at the facility at 2813 Hunter St., and the center will close its doors until further notice.

In a less than robust economy, child care is one of the first expenses cut in a family's budget, said Sharon Gammage, an employee of the center for 22 years.

"With the economy the way it is, parents can't afford to send their children to us, even though we're one of the lower-cost centers in the area," she said. "It's just sad, I don't know where these kids will go."

Mary House is licensed to accommodate 83 children, ages 6 weeks to 5 years old, but with only 29 children enrolled and mounting maintenance costs, the facility can't stay in operation.

Closing the doors is sad for the staff and parents, whose proud "graduates" have grown up and brought their own children to attend. But it's also difficult for the families who depend on the staff at Mary House for child care while they work to support their families.

"We will definitely miss coming to Mary House," said Sandy Ogdon, who takes her 20-month-old grandson, Ashton, to the center every day. "I don't know what we're going to do. (His mother) has been calling around, but they are so expensive."

Ogdon says the family is stressed and upset that it will have to find a new child care center, but hopes that Mary House will reopen if new funding is found and repairs are made to the facility.

"It's going to be hard, but I hope that they will be able to reopen in the fall," Ogdon said.

Gammage told parents as they picked up children Tuesday afternoon that she would continue to work to reopen the facility for the families who rely on it.

"It's hard. We've got leaking coming through the walls in one room, so on top of all of this, we have to get that fixed, too," she said. "Things like that, it's hard to fix, and keep this place open."

Gammage said churches and organizations have contributed to the organization. Still, the facility needs significant funding to reopen.

"We have been very blessed, but it's hard to believe that this is it," Gammage said. "I keep trying to keep it from happening, find things I can do to keep from closing, but we'll have to."

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