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Explore & More topping-off milestone at Canalside

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Thu, Nov 30th 2017 05:40 pm
Pictured here, and below, alongside a topping-off photo from Thursday, are artistic renderings of the future Explore & More building at Canalside in Buffalo.
Pictured here, and below, alongside a topping-off photo from Thursday, are artistic renderings of the future Explore & More building at Canalside in Buffalo.
Explore & More Children's Museum at Canalside expected to bring 250,000 new visitors to Buffalo's waterfront each year
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday announced the topping off of the new $29 million Explore & More Children's Museum on the South Aud Block of Canalside. 
The 43,000-square-foot building, expected to open in fourth quarter 2018, will house seven educational play zones offering hands-on activities and exhibits for children and families.
Explore & More's project is expected to create 36 full-time jobs, in addition to 40 construction jobs, and bring 250,000 new visitors annually to Buffalo's waterfront.
"The transformation of Buffalo's waterfront has been a significant economic driver for the entire region, and the addition of the Explore & More Children's Museum will help attract even more visitors for years to come," Cuomo said. "Once complete, the museum will educate our youngest New Yorkers and visitors with creative activities, and provide exciting attractions that will help everyone learn all there is to love about Buffalo and the Empire State."
"Nothing has symbolized the new Buffalo more than the transformation of its waterfront, and Explore & More will be an active partner in maximizing its potential," Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said. "This expansion takes one of our region's premier cultural assets to the next level and makes it an even more valuable resource for children and families while increasing downtown Buffalo's appeal as a tourism destination."
In addition to the seven educational play zones, the four-story brick museum will house a café overlooking the Canal Towpath, along with museum retail space. The ground floor will include two entrances for museum guests, allowing school groups to enter separate from daily visitors to help improve the experience for everyone. The second floor includes a two-story space along the canals and the third floor provides an ideal location for several exhibits and views of the Buffalo River. On the fourth floor, overlooking the city skyline, a rooftop terrace will allow museum visitors to enjoy Canalside from a unique vantage point.
It is estimated that, in addition to museum admission, visitors to Explore & More at Canalside will spend a projected $4.9 million per year in the immediate neighborhood. The project site is within walking distance to a number of Buffalo's existing or planned cultural attractions. Additionally, in the first 10 years of operation, the museum is projected to have a $208 million economic impact on the region.
Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. has provided nearly $9 million toward the core and shell of the new building. That funding stems from an agreement with the New York Power Authority as part of the relicensing of the Niagara Power Project in 2007. Last year, NYPA awarded $1.7 million from its Western New York Economic Development Fund to help with exhibit planning and construction. Another $300,000 was awarded from NYPA's environmental justice program for energy efficiency upgrades. Explore & More has been raising the remainder of the $29 million project through its Play It Forward Capital Campaign.
"Canalside has become a favorite place for families to come to play and enjoy the waterfront and the Explore & More Children's Museum will build on that," ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia said. "Today's topping off is an important milestone and we look forward to the museum's opening next year."
"Today is a proud milestone for our children and their future in the community," said Barry Swartz, chairman of the board of trustees at Explore & More. "Our progress is a testament to the inspired vision from state, city and community leaders, organizations, staff and innumerable committed individuals to provide support and opportunities for all children, from all walks of life. With today's final steel beam in place, we continue on the shared journey to make a lasting and positive impact on our community's future generations." 
John Koelmel, chairman of the NYPA board of trustees, said, "The New York Power Authority is proud to have contributed to this construction milestone and applauds the team effort that has brought us this far since we broke ground in March. This is another exciting project that continues the governor's efforts to bring positive energy to downtown Buffalo, which benefits the whole region. The Explore & More Museum and our own renovated Power Vista Visitor Center are great examples of the new attractions for families and tourists who now have even more reasons to extend their stay and enjoy our expansive waterfront."
The topping-off event.
New York State Sen. Tim Kennedy said, "Today is a win for our waterfront and families across Western New York. Every year, Canalside sees more than 1 million visitors and, with the creation of the Explore & More Children's Museum, that number will grow exponentially. New York state not only recognizes the importance of attracting folks to our waterfront, but of ensuring they return. My family and I look forward to enjoying the museum and all that it has to offer once complete."
Assemblyman Sean Ryan said, "We are building a great experience at Canalside for the entire family, and the Explore & More Children's Museum is an important piece of the puzzle. Today is an important day to celebrate, and I look forward to continued progress along Buffalo's waterfront."
Assemblymember Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes said, "This is a wonderful milestone for Children's Explore & More Museum. They are a welcome and much-anticipated anchor to Canalside and downtown Buffalo. Their presence will make Canalside an even more attractive destination for all families and youth activities. Congratulations."
Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said, "Today marks another major milestone leading to the opening of the Explore & More Children's Museum. Not only will it be a perfect addition to the City of Buffalo's rich portfolio of museums, it will also be a perfect addition to Canalside. This great family-oriented attraction will be a wonderful asset for local families and a great destination for visitors, while also adding another exciting component to Buffalo's inner and outer harbors,"
Canalside remains open throughout the museum construction process. A full schedule of upcoming events and activities is available at www.canalsidebuffalo.com
About Explore & More
Celebrating its 24th year in operation, Explore & More Children's Museum provides an environment for creative play and learning through hands-on exhibits, activities and programs that inspire creativity, curiosity and imagination.
Explore & More is currently located at 300 Gleed Ave., East Aurora. For more information, visit www.exploreandmore.org.

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