Sitting on one of the over 13 acres and six lots in the 5th Avenue Redevelopment Project, is the DuPage Children’s Museum.
The museum and the city have a 20-year lease deal that was approved in 2011, when the city purchased the lot for about $3 million, less than half its appraised value at the time.
“The museum and the city have a lease in place, and it’s a good lease, and we’re going to honor that lease,” said Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico. “If the children’s museum decides not to participate in any of the 5th Avenue redevelopment opportunities, this will be their decision.”
The children’s museum has been included in planning discussions. And while they will not be required to move, the mayor says it might be beneficial for them to do so.
“They have limitations where they’re at,” said Chirico. “Parking limitations, the structure is old and expensive, they have no outdoor programming space. They could use higher heights in their building to allow them to do different types of exhibits.”
Were that space to open up the lot would be a convenient spot for commuter parking. About 80 percent of the area’s parkers come from the south. A parking structure there would keep many of those people out of the neighborhoods surrounding the Metra station.
In a statement to the Naperville Sun, DuPage Children’s Museum President & CEO Sarah Orleans said “the city has expressed a commitment to ensuring the viability and fiscal well-being of the museum…Undoubtedly, we will be carefully considering several scenarios with our board and the city in the coming months.”
“If we can find a solution for the museum that helps them, that makes their position stronger, my guess is that their board will consider it. And if not, then they will likely not want to participate. It’s something we’ll just have to see how it turns out,” said Chirico.
Whether it stays in its current place or moves somewhere new, it looks like the DuPage Children’s Museum won’t be leaving our community anytime soon.
Naperville City Council is set to discuss the 5th Avenue project again on July 17.
Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.
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