Where oh where is the Childrens Museum

Ben Platt, Vice President, of the Board of Directors and Site Selection Chairman for the Children’s Museum of St. Johns, told local reporters at Historic City News that his most often-asked question over the past two and a half years has been “Where exactly is the Children’s Museum located?”

And, the answer has always been “Nowhere yet, but look for our traveling exhibits at festivals around the county.” However, we’re pleased to report that we’ve been working hard to change that answer!

Platt said, “The strategic plan adopted by the Board in November 2009 outlined a process for site selection that we are following carefully. We’ve developed a list of “must-have” and “nice-to-have” criteria against which to measure potential sites.”

Our must-have criteria include:
– Safe location
– Own or long-term lease (25-year minimum)
– Adequate parking (including room for school buses)
– 10,000 interior square feet or 1 acre on which to build

Our nice-to-have criteria include:
– High visibility with walk/drive-by traffic
– Centrally located
– Ability to expand up to 40,000 square feet

“Additionally, we’re in the process of meeting with many knowledgeable people around St. Johns County who are helping us identify any and all potentially viable sites, whether existing buildings or land on which to build,” Platt said.

“We don’t want to leave any stone unturned in this process, so email us at info@explorecmsj.org with any suggestions you may have about potential sites and/or people with whom we should be talking,” Christine Chapman, Presidential Advisory Council and Site Selection Co-Chair told Historic City News. “Every idea is a good one, so please share yours.”

Chapman tells us, “Our goal is to compile a comprehensive list of potential sites by June 1st, and then begin the process of narrowing the list down based on which sites best meet our criteria.”

“Once our top 3-5 sites are determined, we’ll begin negotiating with property owners to secure a site,” Chapman said. “Ideally, that would be a location that will both fit the needs of the Children’s Museum and potentially honor a family or business in St. Johns County who is willing to make a generous investment in the children in our community.”

“With a site secured by the end of 2010,” Chapman says, “our goal will be to open the doors of the Children’s Museum by the end of 2012.”

Looking ahead, Platt said, “When people ask me, “Where exactly is the Children’s Museum?”, it will be great to have an answer!”

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