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Discovery Station site uncertain

August 26, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Discovery Station continues to be a project without a permanent home.

The interactive children's museum planned for Hagerstown may not go into the former Tusing Warehouse as planned, but it has not been decided where it will set up shop instead, Dave Barnhart, the treasurer of the group planning the project, said Monday.

Since about 2000, the volunteer board planning the museum has had a lease on the Tusing Warehouse, a vacant three-story brick building at the rear of a parking lot at 58 E. Washington St. near City Hall.

The warehouse owned by the city is being leased to Discovery Station for $1 a year.

The group has told the city it still has some interest in the property but does not want to prevent other groups from using it, Barnhart said.

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Mayor William M. Breichner said the lease remains in force, but the city is talking with other groups that have expressed preliminary interest in the property.

Discovery Station will send the city a letter releasing it from the lease, Breichner said.

A consultant has told the group that while the 9,000-square-foot site might be a good place to start the program, it might quickly outgrow the space, Barnhart said. There might not be enough room for learning centers and storage, he said.

Consultant Gyroscope of Oakland, Calif., said the site should be about 20,000 square feet, Barnhart said.

The group's fund-raising efforts are on hold while a site is chosen, most likely in downtown Hagerstown, Barnhart said. The group wants the facility to be part of the downtown Hagerstown revitalization, he said.

"We have got a very energetic group," he said. "We are in it for the long haul, to bring a quality center here in Hagerstown."

The group has about $55,000 in total commitments, he said.

Some of that money is being used to help area residents get a sense of the appeal of the project by working with the Maryland Science Center to find a local place to display some of its exhibits, he said.

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