Right Project, Wrong Place

I have lived on Kimberly Avenue for over seven years and am very concerned about the building of a Children’s Museum at the corner of State Street and the railroad tracks. The Children’s Museum my son and I visited back in the early ’90s was great for us, although the displays were low cost. We need another Children’s Museum, but not at the expense of safety and traffic problems which this proposed project will bring to an area already overtaxed for parking.

Safety is almost impossible with many unescorted children coming to the museum and having to cross the railroad tracks from the downtown side to reach the entry. You cannot expect all children to be with their parents or their school, especially on weekends. Would the project be worth it if one child is killed or seriously injured by a train? The trains cannot slow down or stop except in long distances, let alone see the little ones unless within their visual corridor.

The museum proposed only two parking spaces for a use that will likely be jammed on weekends, summer, and many afternoons after school. Our area is already a parking mess, and this project would increase the problem even with 40 parking spaces on their site. As I understand, cars will have to come back to Kimberly to find out whether there is space available, then 180 back to State to other lots if the two spaces are taken. This is a crazy situation that will cause all sorts of noise, pollution, and inconvenience to the neighborhood and the museum.

Does the museum really even need a new building? That museum in the ’90s was leased—what about a warehouse or other space away in a safer location? Does anyone have a small lot to donate to the museum for a tax write-off or at a low price? This seems to be a redevelopment project with land owned by the city. Why has the city allowed this project to go on without proposing a better site? Although the museum would be great for our children and community.

Approval of this project as proposed require many modifications rarely afforded other projects. The integrity of the planning review process is really on the line here. I urge citizens to go the City Planning Commission meeting on October 6, call City Hall at 564-5470, or write city officials urging them to deny the project as proposed, and ask that the city work with the museum to find another site, one that can be a lasting and safe place for generations to come.


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