The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday March 30th

Museum may move atop parking deck

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A downtown Chapel Hill parking deck could someday house Kidzu Children's Museum. A study, recommended by the Chapel Hill Town Council and presented to a committee formed by Mayor Kevin Foy, indicated that building an addition atop East Rosemary Street's Wallace Deck could provide a permanent facility for the Franklin Street museum. "The mayor's committee saw the first draft of our report on the structural soundness and feasibility of the Wallace Deck as a site for Kidzu and gave a very positive response," Kidzu Executive Director Cathy Maris said. She said a one- to two-story structure built atop the deck could house the museum in the future, providing space for more exhibits. The Franklin Street spot was intended as a temporary location when Kidzu opened in March 2006, and Maris said the nonprofit is on the lookout for a larger home. "Moving has always been a part of our plan," she said. "We were going to start in a small space, establish ourselves in the community and help people understand how important a children's museum is." She said an anonymous donor has offered Kidzu free space in Carrboro, but she wants to keep the museum close to UNC due to partnerships with campus organizations and local businesses. Maris said children's museums often locate in donated space. Carlo Robustelli, Foy's aide, said the museum would be responsible for the cost of building an addition to Wallace Deck. He said both the mayor and the committee that received Kidzu's study hope to keep the museum downtown. Dwight Bassett, interim director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, said Kidzu is a vital part of the downtown economy. "I think it's a very important component of continuing to revitalize downtown Chapel Hill," he said, adding that the partnership will work with Kidzu to find a home in town. "In my viewpoint, Kidzu is one of those economic engines in that it draws parents and children and visitors to that destination." Assistant City Editor Emily Stephenson contributed reporting. Contact the City Editor at


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