Beaver Falls Community Development Corporation 0

Community Support for the Beaver Falls Children's Museum Project

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This petition has been created to demonstrate to Congressman Conor Lamb that there is strong and wide community support for the Beaver Falls Children’s Museum Project.

Congressman, with your provision of a FY 2023 appropriation of $995,000, the Beaver Falls Community Development Corporation (CDC) will be able to complete all renovations necessary to open the first floor of the children’s museum in partnership with its future residents, Neighborhood North. Once complete, the children’s museum will be a site of gathering, education, economic development, community pride and much more.

The location for the children’s museum is the iconic TRIB Building in Beaver Falls. Though vacant for over 30 years, the community has not given up on its potential for restoration and sustainable re-use. The Beaver Falls CDC took ownership of the building in 2014 and has deployed over $400,000 in resources to replace the roof, preserve the structure, and gut the interior. Adjacent to the TRIB Building, the City of Beaver Falls has dedicated an additional $750,000 to the construction of Library Park, which is designed to provide green space that functions as an outdoor extension of the children’s museum. All told, over $1.15 million has already been committed to various components of the Beaver Falls Children’s Museum Project, clearly demonstrating broad community support for this exciting initiative.

Neighborhood North, the organization who will run the children’s museum, was started in response to the educational needs of children in Beaver Falls, Beaver County, and all of PA-17. Understanding the social and emotional benefits of play, the museum was formed to support child learning and development, focusing particularly on underrepresented and underserved populations who are often provided fewer opportunities for educational enrichment, education in sustainability, and cultural engagement. Throughout COVID-19, Neighborhood North provided programming and support to such vulnerable student populations at a time when schools remained closed. In 2021, Neighborhood North: Museum of play officially opened in a temporary location, but has quickly outgrown that site.

When complete, the children’s museum will be a destination for youth and their parents, educators, school groups, summer camps, and more. Eventually, the site will encompass multiple floors -- along with a sustainably designed rooftop eco-garden -- providing numerous spaces for learning and creativity. Consistent with broader ecodistrict planning occurring throughout the county, the children’s museum has been identified as a catalytic ecodistrict project intended to highlight sustainable design throughout the space. Much like the Franklin Avenue Park in Aliquippa, this site aspires to be a 21st century example of how green building principles can be used to reclaim underutilized community infrastructure in ways that further community sustainability. We are confident the children’s museum will be a gathering place in our community as well as a source of pride, contributing to economic development and the revitalization of our business district, drawing residents and visitors to our city, and enhancing the quality of life in Beaver Falls, Beaver County, and throughout PA-17.

The Beaver Falls Children’s Museum Project has been identified as a catalytic ecodistrict project because of its importance to a growing network of initiatives currently underway in Beaver Falls. Such projects include the eco-park located on the doorstep of the children’s museum, new streetscape investments adjacent to the children’s museum, the B-HIVE (Beaver Valley Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship), the Portobello Cultural Life & Arts Center, and the CDC’s Neighborhood Revitalization Project. Not to mention, several new businesses and two major building projects are nearby along the central business corridor of Beaver Falls. This is certainly a new day in the city, and we anticipate the Beaver Falls Children’s Museum Project amplifying and strengthening such collected activity.

Please accept this signed petition as a strong endorsement and enthusiastic support for the Beaver Falls Children’s Museum Project. We will look forward to the possibility of seeing this project included in the 2023 Fiscal Year Congressional Budget.

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