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Time may be running out for day care
Board votes not to extend lease
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Ann Mullinax covered her face with her hands Thursday when she learned she likely will have to close her child care center in downtown Dawsonville.


In a 3-1 decision, the Dawson County commission denied Mullinax’s request to extend her lease at 96 Academy Ave. for five years.


The board will, however, allow Lil’ Angels Learning Academy to remain open for two more months if Mullinax catches up on back rent and pays the two months in advance.


“I just don’t think the board did what they needed to do in this case,” Mullinax said. “Sixty days doesn’t even give me time to move. We didn’t expect them to go this route.”


According to the original lease/purchase agreement signed in 2007, Mullinax has until Sept. 30 to buy the building for $450,000.


Two weeks ago, she told the commission she didn’t anticipate being able to meet that deadline because banks are not loaning money like they once were.


About a dozen parents whose children attend the center came to Thursday’s meeting to hear the outcome.


Commissioner Mike Connor’s motion to extend the lease for one year died for a lack of support.


It was the second time in recent months the day care center had come to the commission’s attention.


Earlier this year, Mullinax worked with officials to settle up on about $13,000 in back rent.


Mullinax said she is exploring her options.


“If they had given me another year, like Commissioner Connor had suggested, maybe I’d be able to buy another or build one,” she said Monday. 


Mullinax said she will continue to work with the board to try to keep the center open.


“And I have a lot of people behind me,” she said. “I’m getting a lot of calls and a lot of support. People are very upset about what is going on.


“We have a lot of options, but nothing concrete, that we’re looking in to.”


The day care has an enrollment of 45 children ages 6 weeks to 12 years, including three with special needs, Mullinax said. Nine people would lose their jobs if the center closes.


Commissioner James Swafford, who made the motion not to extend the lease, said his vote may have been different if Mullinax had kept up with rent over the last year. 


A new use for the building has recently surfaced.


The Dawson County Board of Elections and Voter Registration would require a larger building if it were to go through with a possible plan to consolidate voting precincts. 


The Academy Avenue location was briefly discussed during Monday’s election board meeting as a possible consolidated site.


No decisions were made by the election board at that meeting.