By Robb Murray
Free Press Staff Writer
MANKATO — The Greater Mankato Rotary Club announced today it plans to donate $100,000 over five years to the Southern Minnesota Children's Museum, as well as 10,000 hours of volunteer service valued at another $100,000.
Rotary's donation brings the total raised so far for the new facility at $2.5 million. When fundraising began for the project, the goal was roughly $4 million for a new facility. Since then plans have changed, and the museum is more likely to set up shop in garage facility owned by the city.
Peter Olson, director of the Southern Minnesota Children's Museum, said they're in talks with the city to iron out an agreement to locate at the site, but he said he anticipates work could begin this summer.
Greater Mankato Rotary Club President Jo Guck Bailey said the club, which recently pulled together two clubs to form one larger one, has been searching for a community project that matches the club's mission.
"It's one of the most talked about projects in the community," Bailey said.
Internally, Bailey said, they've referred to the museum partnership as the "Go Big" project.
According to a statement issued by the club, the cash portion of the agreement will include signage inside the museum's Multi-Purpose Community Room. Rotary members will have volunteer expectations. Olson said they could help out as play workers, help construct exhibits and organize fundraisers.