PORTSMOUTH — The Candyland Children’s Museum came one step closer to receiving needed grant money earlier this week in its attempt to construct an interactive learning experience for area children.
On Tuesday, the Scioto County Commissioners authorized Scioto County Economic Development Director Robert Horton to apply for a grant in its construction of the children’s museum in Portsmouth. If approved, the $200,000 Community Development Block Grant would go to the implementation of an elevator, which Horton said would be necessary to accommodate those with disabilities.
“It’s a huge part of moving development forward in Scioto County and the city,” said Horton of the project.
The museum, which will be located at the corner of Market and Second Street, is in need of renovation before opening as one of the oldest buildings in the city. Purchased by a local group of investors, the project team, consisting of Cindi Hay, Sara Mauk and Kelly Babcock, agreed to a lease contract for the three-story building.
Having children of their own, Babcock said the group had traveled to the Mighty Children’s Museum in Chillicothe on multiple occasions. Seeing it as an enjoyable experience, they decided it would be an activity than many would like to partake in if within a closer range.
Upon completion, Babcock foresees the museum as a blend of the Chillicothe and the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus where it will bring in interactive exhibits, such as climbing structures and water tables, in addition to dramatic play areas and creative, performance and theatrical arts.
“We want to cultivate a love of learning and exploring, not only with the children but with their families,” said Babcock. “We believe adults can have fun, particularly with their children.”
Intended for children up to the age of 10, the museum will not be stagnant, she added, but rather constantly updated and will hopefully be in operation for many years to come.
“We have such beautiful outdoors with the Shawnee Forest to explore in the spring, summer and fall,” said Babcock. “But when the winter comes, it can be a little bit harder to entertain the children.”
“We hope that long-term this will be a nice place for families to visit year-round, one that is still able to be visited during the winter months,” she said.
Commissioner Bryan Davis said the funding will be critical in making sure the project finishes, which he feels will draw more tourism to the county and provide more activities for area children.
“This is just another example of our Scioto County Economic Development reaching out and helping, in this case in the city,” said Davis. “I know they have been trying for a while on several fronts to get this thing going.”
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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