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Kidzu Children's Museum Mulls Move Options

Posted March 1, 2008

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— Chapel Hill children's museum has outgrown its current location. The Kidzu Museum at 105 E. Franklin St. wanted to move to a nearby town-owned building, but council members were against it.

The 3,000 square feet museum is almost two years old. It drew nearly 30,000 visitors during its first year of operations.

“We can only have one exhibit at a time. We can only offer one program at a time,” Kidzu Executive Director Cathy Maris said.

A donor helped Kidzu get started by paying its rent for 18 months.

“With rent and property taxes, our occupancy costs are $85,000 a year," Maris said.

The non-profit is looking at potential rent-free sites that offer more space.

Museum officials said the only place in Chapel Hill that fits the criteria is the old post office building-courthouse at 179 E. Franklin St. But the Town Council said 'no' since they want to save that space for future offices.

“I think we can be more creative in deciding where our needs are,” Councilwoman Laurin Easthom said.

Easthom said the Town Council does want to work out a compromise with the museum.

“I think Kidzu is such a plus, such a draw for downtown, and that is a council goal,” she said.

Kidzu is also considering two other sites in Carrboro.

“We'd love to be downtown if we could, but the most important thing is to find a site that really supports the museum and its mission,” Maris said.

The Town Council and Kidzu representatives hope to agree on a new location by the summer.

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