An Anderson couple is trying to drum up support for a children's museum in a former Sears store. Paul and Kim McClish will hold a meeting next month to brainstorm ideas for the proposed Mounds Mall location.
February 16, 2015
ANDERSON, Ind. – Paul and Kim McClish stopped by the Mounds Mall (Anderson, IN) several months ago to share a project that they thought would have a positive impact on Anderson. They met with architect/leasing specialist, Jesse Wilkerson, to talk about locating a children's museum in the former Sears space (http://youtu.be/rmtdI3ywMrM).
“Our vision is to create a Learning Activity Center,” says Paul McClish “with equipment from airports, possibly the local speedway, items from the police department, and exhibits from Mounds Park.” McClish and Wilkerson have met from time to time to talk about various ideas for the community and opportunities that could grow into larger community development projects. The model stems from Sand Castles Museum (www.sandcastleschildrensmuseum.com) in Ludington, MI with a population of just under 10,000 the museum host roughly 20,000 visitors a year according to it's Executive Director, Kristin Korendyke.
“My desire is to take what Paul and his wife and I have talked about and maximize it to its full potential,” says Wilkerson, “The Cook family has entertained various ideas for the entire property. They are a giving family. This fits in line with their desire to contribute to the community, especially our children. What I shared with Paul and his wife is that we would like to see a Children's Museum and an Activity Center (incubator) where our kids get exposed to cultures of the world.
In December, I visited Disney and initiated communication with Lego Land. We want to fill the gap of what isn't being done in Indianapolis or in Muncie, but that will draw visitors from a 45 mile radius through partnerships with corporate sponsors, local businesses, our local schools, colleges and universities, the City of Anderson and other partners. Maybe we could have an international cuisine style cafeteria for children to be exposed to various types of food from around the world through partnership with Ivy Tech or any culinary arts program, a local Lego Land, technology exhibit with computers for programming, large screen flight simulation, international exhibits, a mini grocer for children to learn to purchase groceries, etc.”
The group is looking into museum grants and currently planning to have a general interest meeting for anyone interested in contributing their ideas and time to the effort. A local 501c3 non-for profit, Racing for Help Ministries, operated by Brian and Jessica Ball has offered their services as well. If you have an interest in working with or contributing your ideas to the project the group invites you to meet with them March 8 at 4:00 p.m. in the former Sears space to offer input.
Source: Jesse J. Wilkerson & Associates LLC