Discovery Place KIDS–Rockingham, the brand new interactive children’s museum and activity center, is a big success, according to city officials who are eager to boast about the new downtown attraction.
In less than 60 days of operation, Discovery Place KIDS–Rockingham has attracted 12,960 people to its bright and exciting digs at 233 E. Washington St.
“That’s phenomenal,” said a smiling Monty Crump, Rockingham City Manager.
Crump reported the impressive headcount to the Rockingham City Council, during the council’s regular monthly meeting on Tuesday evening.
“Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham continues to be a big hit in downtown Rockingham,” Crump told the council. “It is great to see so many people enjoying this new addition to our county.”
What it means is that Discovery Place KIDS brought 12,960 people into the downtown area, Crump said. It is already proving to be a major asset for Rockingham, he said, “and that’s good to see.”
The attendance at DPK since it opened on a cold and wet day in February is especially impressive when you consider one estimate had the new facility drawing in perhaps an estimated 30,000 in its first year of operation, said Crump.
Mayor Steve Morris said he took a family member to the new facility recently and noticed buses from Red Springs, N.C., and others from areas in Scotland County.
“It’s nice to have the crowds there,” Morris said.
Years in development, the Discovery Place KIDS–Rockingham project was launched by a leadership gift of $6.6 million from the Cole Foundation and the Richmond Community Foundation, a contribution facilitated by Foundation For The Carolinas. Those funds are intended for long-term sustainability of the museum.
The City of Rockingham is the facility partner, and purchased the former McKenzie Furniture building to be renovated as the permanent home of DPK. As the museum partner, Discovery Place, Inc. developed the exhibits and educational components and manages the day-to-day operations.
A campaign cabinet guided the community funding effort on behalf of Discovery Place KIDS–Rockingham, raising awareness of the project and garnering widespread support from corporations, foundations, professionals and individuals throughout the Sandhills. Discovery Place also received a $2 million challenge grant in early 2012 from The Leon Levine Foundation.
In other matters Tuesday, the City Council:
• Honored a recently retired city employee, James Gulledge, who was in attendance along with family members. Mayor Morris and Crump presented Gulledge with a wristwatch designed with the city’s logo. They commended Gulledge for his 35 years of service to the city. Gulledge worked in the city’s sanitation department. Crump commended the man for doing a great job for the city, for working “tirelessly” for so many years, and for being a loyal employee for so long.
• Listened to Rockingham Housing Authority Executive Director Chereka Belton-Odom present the Rockingham Housing Authority 2012 Annual Report.
• Agreed to schedule a public meeting for its May meeting to hear a request to rezone approximately 2.14 acres located at 156 Bateman Street, from Highway Business (B-3) to Residential Mill Village (R-7A). The rezoning request is being made by Anthony James Sidoti, who wants to give the vacant lot to his daughter for a home site, but the current B-3 zoning will not allow for single-family residential use.
• Heard a presentation by Relay for Life Committee representative Sherri Alfeo in reference to designating April as “Purple Ribbon Month” in Rockingham. It’s part of a proclamation in support of the American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life, this year scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Friday, May 3, at the Rockingham Speedway.
• Heard Mayor Morris issue a proclamation marking May 5-11, 2013, as Municipal Clerk’s Week.
— Editor John Charles Robbins can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 13, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.