Logan Horton spent his Saturday in a bunny costume, hopping and cheering.
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Logan Horton spent his Saturday in a bunny costume, hopping and cheering.
The redevelopment of University Square is moving forward after its rezoning and special use permit were approved by the town on Feb. 11 — but the process is far from over.
Diehard Tar Heels have a new way of expressing their UNC pride.
Summer vacation is nearly halfway over for most K-12 students, but there’s still time for kids to expand their horizons.
Auntie Anne joins Ben and Jerry’s
Kidzu Children’s Museum will celebrate the grand opening of its new location at 123 W. Franklin St. in University Square this weekend.
The Carolina Center for Public Service will be hosting its 12th annual Public Service Fair in the Pit today.
Kaitlyn Montgomery, from Durham, papier-maches the Kidzu frog. Kidzu is planning to open a new location for their educational play place.
Chapel Hill kids have a new place to play outside, and it’s on the roof.
A local children’s museum is temporarily relocating in anticipation of building a new site on Rosemary Street.
A year and a half after receiving approval to move into a larger location downtown, a local children’s museum is still working to collect donations to meet its fundraising goal.
On a typical weekday at the Carrboro ArtsCenter, several dozen children are busy at work finding ways to improve North Carolina’s economy.
UNC students dedicated more than 1 million hours of time to service projects in the 2008-09 school year.
Now that the town approved Kidzu Children’s Museum’s expansion, it’s up to the museum to raise money for construction.The museum scored a $1 lease for 99 years, and now will have to raise $6 million to $7 million for construction of the new building, said Cathy Maris executive director of Kidzu. “It really takes an entire community to create a great children’s museum,” Maris said. “We welcome people’s input and are going to need as much help as we can get.”After about a year of negotiations, Kidzu contracted to relocate to Wallace Parking Deck — a property valued at $4 million.The move could lead to downtown revitalization, town leaders say.“We’re incredibly excited,” Maris said. “This is something that we’ve been working on for years and years.”Chapel Hill Town Council unanimously voted on the details of the lease Nov. 9.“(Maris) made a repeated set of very compelling arguments for the contract,” council member Ed Harrison said. “I agree with her completely.”Fundraising for expansionMaris said community support has helped the museum prosper. They’ve already raised $1 million to preserve the current site, Maris said.“It’s going to be a broad net that we will have to cast,” Maris said. The next steps in Kidzu’s expansion plan include continued fundraising, developing building plans, finding an architect, marketing and planning exhibits, said Jonathan Mills, the museum board chairman.One fundraising event consisted of a series of parties called “A Feast for the Imagination,” Mills said. The events ranged from tailgating to ice skating to poker parties. By Mills’ estimates, the event raised $28,000 to $30,000. Kidzu also took part in America’s giving challenge on Facebook. More than 160 members raised $6,252.Out of the 7,857 organizations collecting money, Kidzu ranked 45th. Maris said a lot of work is ahead but she is confident the museum will succeed with town support. Revitalizing downtownOne of Maris’ arguments in favor of the lease was that the expansion will help revitalize downtown.The number of museum visitors is expected to reach between 75,000 and 100,000 annually compared to the current 30,000, said Mills. The larger space will allow the museum to hold more events at once, increasing attendance, Maris said.The average ticket price is $5, Mills said, so the new museum could bring in $500,000 each year.He said having more families downtown will create a better image for Chapel Hill.“When you see kids holding hands, maybe they are pulling a kite behind them they made out of construction paper at Kidzu. They make you smile,” Mills said. “It’s the best advertisement downtown Chapel Hill could have.”Mayor-elect Mark Kleinschmidt said the museum will inject more business into downtown.“It’s been since Kidzu opened that the town has been hoping to help them find more space and increase their impact,” he said. “It’s a great destination for families, and it’s an opportunity for kids to grow and learn.”Kidzu opened in 2006, occupying a 2,700-square-foot space on Franklin Street. At that location, there is only room for one exhibit, Maris said, but the new space will allow for five or six.“We always knew we would start small and plan big,” Maris said.The expanded museum, opening in 2013 or 2014, will be about 15,000 square feet with 5,000 square feet of outdoor exhibit space.Contact the City Editor at email@example.com.
After years of planning, Kidzu Children’s Museum can finally move forward on a large expansion.The Chapel Hill Town Council approved a lease for the museum to build a new site on the roof of the Wallace Parking Plaza at Rosemary and Henderson streets.“We’re just elated,” said Cathy Maris, executive director of the museum.The deal will lease the property to the museum for $1 a year for 99 years.Kidzu currently takes up 2,700 square feet, only 1,200 of which are used for exhibits.With the expansion, this number will increase to 15,000 square feet, and an outdoor area will add 5,000 more, Maris said.Kidzu will use this extra space to add exhibits, especially those geared toward older children.The town of Chapel Hill also will be able to use part of the site for events.Museum officials said they hope to have the new site completed by 2014.In their petition to the council, museum staff emphasized the new site’s potential to revitalize downtown Chapel Hill and attract visitors.“Who better to energize downtown than young children and their families?” Maris said.And since many parents and teachers take children on field trips to Raleigh, Durham or other out-of-town sites, the expansion would bring more revenue into town, said Jonathan Mills, chairman of the museum’s board of directors.Kidzu had planned to expand since the museum opened in 2006.Years later, the museum’s vision is outgrowing its old site, Maris said. During school field trips, for instance, the museum has only been able to fit one class at a time into the building.“There have been kids with their faces pressed up against the window, waiting to get in,” she said.The council approved the lease unanimously with almost no discussion. Only Jim Ward spoke up, urging Kidzu to make the new building sustainable.“Don’t build a 20th-century building for these kids,” he said.The expansion will cost the museum about $6 million to $7 million, money Kidzu doesn’t yet have.But the museum will have an easier time finding donors to cover this cost now that the site is secured, Mills said.Council vacancyAlso at the meeting, a timetable was set to discuss filling the vacant Town Council seat.The newly elected council will make the appointment after new members are sworn in next month.Applicants will make their presentations Dec. 9, and the council will consider them Dec. 14.Contact the City Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Negotiations for a building contract are finally coming together for a local children’s museum seeking a much bigger space.Kidzu Children’s Museum representatives are working on a proposal with town staff to use the top of a parking deck on Rosemary Street. They said they hope the contract will be considered at the Chapel Hill Town Council’s Sept. 28 meeting.Kidzu Children’s Museum representatives said they hope to build a 20,000-square-foot building on the top of Wallace Parking Deck, which is owned by the town of Chapel Hill. The top floor is an open community area not used for parking.Kidzu is a museum that offers children an opportunity to learn through playing, said Jonathan Mills, chairman of the board of directors. The current Franklin Street location is about 2,700 square feet, which Mills said is not enough to accommodate its exhibits and visitors.Mills said significant progress has been made in the last eight weeks but that initially there were hurdles.“I think speed is an issue, getting everybody on the same page,” Mills said. Kidzu representatives originally petitioned the Town Council the first week of September 2008, and progress was slow.“The town staff has been incredibly busy,” Mills said. “But I think at the moment we are a priority.”Mills said Kidzu has used the elapsed year to work with town staff, creating the contract they’ll propose in September.“We’re just trying to come up with something that the Kidzu people and the town staff would offer and the council would consider,” said Town Attorney Ralph Karpinos. “It would be up to the council to decide whether to approve.”If the town approves Kidzu’s proposal contract, the museum’s representatives will need to submit an application to the town planning department to undergo development review before they begin to build, which could take months, Karpinos said.Mark Kleinschmidt, Chapel Hill town council member, said the council is excited about the possibilities the new location could bring.“We’re wanting to do everything we can to help them out,” he said. With the building site located in the center of downtown, Kleinschmidt said he’s hoping Kidzu’s new location and larger size could make downtown attractive to a different crowd.“I’m hoping that they’d be able to develop a building up there that would be a real anchor for our downtown,” he said. “In the last decade or so, the 100 block has become almost solely devoted to the University.”The new building will come with a hefty price tag, Mills said. If the town approves the contract, Kidzu will begin its formal capital campaign to raise the $5.5 million to $7 million needed for the building and its exhibits alone.But Mills said he thinks the efforts will be worth it.“Our goal is to be one of the leading educational innovators in the country,” Mills said. “And that’s a big deal.”Contact the City Editor at email@example.com.
Due to a reporting error" this story incorrectly stated the number of partnerships Kidzu Children's Museum has with UNC entities. It has 16. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.