Rockingham officials are preparing to take a giant step forward in the plan to turn a vacant downtown storefront into a state-of-the-art children’s learning and activity center.
The Rockingham City Council may award the construction contract that will transform the McKenzie Furniture Building at 233 E. Washington St. into Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham, when it holds its regular monthly meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m.
The council meets at City Hall, 514 Rockingham Road, Rockingham.
Bids for construction were opened and read in Council Chambers on Tuesday, March 6. The architect has been reviewing the bids and staff has made a recommendation on awarding the project.
The city purchased the building in July 2011.
Discovery Place, Inc. chose Rockingham as the future location of its second interactive learning children’s museum after opening its first in Huntersville in 2011. Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham will offer the greater Sandhills region a learning opportunity for children beyond their toddler years. Exhibits are still being designed while funding campaigns are ongoing. The overall campaign goal remains at $14.5 million, which includes funds for renovation, exhibition development and an ongoing endowment to support outreach and operational needs.
Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham, designed to offer an experience that encourages imagination, creativity and skill development for young children and their caregivers, could be open by 2013.
City officials have scheduled a Blast Off Celebration for 11 a.m. Friday, March 23, which will serve as the groundbreaking ceremony for Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham.
Also on the council’s agenda:
• Consideration of a supplemental municipal agreement with the North Carolina Department of Transportation regarding the installation of 33 Crape Myrtles and 29 tree grates in the 200 and 300 blocks of East Franklin Street.
• A public hearing to receive citizen input for a Community Development Block Grant application for funding under the 2011 Infrastructure Hook-Up Program. These funds can be used to tie low and moderate income households onto the public sewer installed with Golden LEAF funding.
• Consideration of approval of an audit contract for the fiscal year 2011-2012 audit with Anderson Smith & Wike, PLLC, for the year ending June 30, 2012.
• Consideration of adoption of a policy for mutual assistance agreements with other law enforcement agencies.
• Presentation of the Rockingham Police Department’s 2011 Annual Report, by Interim Police Chief Billy Kelly.