Last updated: January 15. 2014 8:15AM - 1454 Views

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Matt Harrelson


ROCKINGHAM — Discovery Place KIDS has made a great impact on Richmond County and it’s one year anniversary was the main topic at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Katie Rohleder, director, spoke Tuesday night at the regular monthly public meeting of the Rockingham City Council. Rohleder said there have been more than 47,000 visitors to the nonprofit, interactive museum, including more than 3,000 guest for birthday parties, 889 attendees for school groups and more than 1,000 family memberships.

Rohleder said that she’s received nothing but wonderful feedback from those in the community.

“All I’ve heard is how Rockingham is so lucky to have a place for families like this,” Rohleder said. “It’s things like that that make us feel good.”

To celebrate the one year anniversary, Rohleder said that Discovery Place KIDS will hold a birthday celebration from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Feb. 22 and then open to the public starting at 10 a.m. with half price admission for everyone all day.

Rohleder also mentioned that visitors from as far away as New Mexico and Texas have visited Discovery Place. Guests have traveled from up and down the eastern seaboard and each county in the Sandhills region has been represented.

Rohleder said that a 5K Fun Run fundraiser will be held on March 29.

“It will be an opportunity to attract people from all over the state,” Rohleder said.

Other news included Discovery Place KIDS will soon begin taking applications for volunteers for summer camps. Discovery Place is looking for teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 to help with one day and week long summer camps.

Rohleder said that none of this would be possible without the support from the city of Rockingham.

“I occasionally visit Discovery Place in Charlotte,” Rohleder said.”They tell me this is the best partnership that they have.”

Rohleder also brought up that the Discovery Place KIDS in Rockingham presently only has a seating area for 12 people to eat.

“Schools need a larger facility to eat lunch so we’re just so happy that the Steele building will become that area,” said Rohleder. “We wanted it to be within walking distance so this will make Discovery Place KIDS the perfect school trip.”

City officials announced on Jan. 8 plans to use a $475,000 grant from the Cole Foundation to raze the Steele building, situated across East Washington Street from Discovery Place, and construct a multipurpose building that will be one-part cafeteria for students visiting the museum to eat lunch and one-part restaurant.

“The Cole Foundation has done so many things to help our community,” said Mayor Steve Morris. “I want to thank them for that.”

Bid openings for the design work takes place at 2 p.m. Jan. 23 at City Hall.

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