The Kidzu Children’s Museum won’t be moving to the roof of the Wallace Parking Deck on East Rosemary Street.
But Kidzu could use the town’s help to serve more families, Betsy Bennett, chairwoman of the board of directors, told the Town Council this week.
The council voted to support a Kidzu museum at the Wallace deck in 2009 and had been waiting to hear if those plans were still going forward.
The partnership would have saved the town half the cost of roughly $1 million in repairs to fix water damage and install waterproofing left out during the parking deck’s 1991 construction.
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The town awarded Kimley-Horn consultants a $57,500 contract in March to design and manage the repairs. The work could begin late this summer, town parking superintendent Brenda Jones said.
Bennett said the museum suspended its capital campaign for the downtown project after paying to move three times in more than two years.
“At this time, the board agreed that the cost to build Kidzu’s permanent home on top of the Wallace Plaza would be too much of a stretch,” she said. “It is with much regret (that) we need to take this option off the table.”
Kidzu is exploring other options but has a three-year lease at University Mall now, she said. The new location opened in April and is exceeding membership and revenue projections, she said.
Kidzu officials also talked recently with the ArtsCenter about sharing an Arts and Innovation Center proposed for a downtown Carrboro parking lot next to the 300 East Main development.
Carrboro’s Board of Aldermen rejected an option to contribute $4.5 million toward that project’s $12 million construction cost in February. The board left open the option of supporting a downtown arts center and said the public should be involved from the start.
Carrboro, Kidzu, the ArtsCenter and the Orange County Public Library have formed a working group and are in the early stages of designing that public process now, said Adam Graetz, ArtsCenter marketing director.
Carrboro Town Manager David Andrews said the process is “starting with a clean slate in terms of possible site locations, programming, facility size and other considerations.” The aldermen could get an update in June, Mayor Lydia Lavelle said.
Kidzu Executive Director Pam Wall stepped down recently to dedicate more time to her family, leaving Lisa Van Deman as the new interim executive director. Bennett said Kidzu officials are focused on finding a permanent home with room to grow and that is accessible to everyone.
A $10,000 Wells Fargo Foundation grant is helping meet the museum’s accessibility goals, she said. The grant helps families who cannot afford a visit to the museum attend for free on the first Sunday afternoon of each month.
Kidzu is asking Chapel Hill to chip in $10,000 to augment that program, she said.
The council asked town staff to bring back recommendation for its consideration at a future meeting.