FACADE IMPROVEMENTS BEGIN ON KIDSPLAY CHILDREN’S MUSEUM’S 57 MAIN STREET BUILDING
Torrington, CT (April 30, 2022) – Facade improvements have begun on KidsPlay Children’s Museum’s 57 Main Street property in Torrington. The facade work will improve the safety, energy efficiency, and general appearance of the building. The facade improvements are the first step in rebuilding the space formerly operated as the Salvation Army Family Thrift Store. The building, once fully renovated, will be connected to the Museum’s current galleries, adding 8,000 square feet of additional exhibits and programming space.
The facade improvements will be funded in part through grants from the Torrington Facade and Building Improvement Program grant and Robert Rosenheim Foundation and through corporate donations through the Neighborhood Assistance Act (NAA). The Neighborhood Assistance Act (NAA) is a tax credit program through the State of Connecticut which uses tax credits to incentivize corporate investment in community projects. Through this program, businesses receive a credit of 60% of their donation to certain eligible projects approved by the Department of Revenue Services, or 100% of their donation to certain approved energy efficiency projects. Alliant Insurance, ConnectiCare, Eversource Energy, McKenna Orthodontics, Northwest Community Bank, the York Hill Trap Rock Quarry Company, Inc., Torrington Water Company, and William Ryan DMD have all supported the project through the Neighborhood Assistance Act.
KidsPlay Children’s Museum acquired 57 Main Street from the Salvation Army in 2019. The facade improvement will involve enclosing the “open porch” area of the building, installing new energy-efficient windows, and installing a floor over the old window display areas. The improvements are to be carried out by Borghesi Building & Engineering and are expected to cost $89,067. The project design was reviewed and accepted by the city’s Architectural Review Committee on September 23, 2021. Upon completion of the facade, the renovation of interior space will begin.
“We are pleased to be going ahead with the renovation project after a long delay due to the pandemic,” says Museum Director Eileen Marriott. “By expanding and improving our programming and exhibit space, KidsPlay will continue to pioneer new ways of meeting the needs of our multifaceted community of children and caregivers.”
“When the renovation of 57 Main is complete, we will have increased gallery space by 60%, allowing us to increase the number of patrons we can safely serve. Visitors to KidsPlay bring vitality to downtown Torrington and contribute to its economic redevelopment. This project will transform our visitor experience by increasing the space dedicated to amenities, interactive exhibits, and programs from 11,000 sq. ft. to nearly 20,000 sq. ft.,” says Ken Merz, KidsPlay’s Board President.
“It is the architectural integrity of our downtown buildings that make our Main Street such a gem. In many cases the age of the building infrastructure makes it difficult to repurpose these historic buildings. Over the years, we have learned that even a modest facade improvement grant has the power to preserve historic resources and spark a reimagined use of these valued sites. We are proud to be able to play a small role in the plans that KidsPlay has to build upon its incredible success in engaging our families.,” says Mayor Elinor Cabone, City of Torrington.
The space at 57 Main Street will be known as the “South Gallery.” The front section will include a new home for the Community Family Learning Center Resource Library, a cafe space, and a new program room. In the rear section of 57 Main Street, the museum will expand exhibits with a focus on STEM learning. The 57 Main Street renovation project has included demolition, environmental remediation, and preservation and conservation of the historic art deco facade. The Museum plans to complete the renovation and integration of 57 Main Street in 2023.
For more information on the project and for updates, visit kidsplaymuseum.org.
About KidsPlay Children’s Museum
Founded in 2012, KidsPlay Children’s Museum is a not-for-profit organization that operates over 11,000 square feet of interactive exhibits that spark curiosity and creativity. The Museum currently targets the developmental needs of children ages 1 to 10. KidsPlay provides opportunities for children and their caregivers to share intrinsically memorable, whole family learning experiences and build skills that extend beyond the museum. The Museum enriches the educational landscape for families from across the socio-economic, cultural, and educational spectrum. For more information, please visit www.kidsplaymuseum.org. The Museum is open to the public in May Wednesday to Friday 10 am to 2 pm and Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 4 pm. All visitors are required to reserve or purchase a timed-entry ticket in advance to manage capacity and provide plenty of space for physical distance between groups of visitors. For more information, please visit www.kidsplaymuseum.org to plan your visit.
Photo Caption: Workers demolish front of 57 Main St to prepare for new facade.