At first glance it looks like an old building for busses. But for Peter Olson it's filled with endless potential. Olson says, "Imagine it will all of these windows wide open and glass garage doors on each end and a tree growing up into the trusses."
Executive Director for Southern Minnesota's Children's Museum, Olson says when the Mankato City Council's Economic Development Authority voted in favor of leasing the city's old mass transit building they opened a door. A door that brings them one step closer to having a permanent location for their Children's Museum. Olson says, "We're just really excited about the task ahead and transforming this into a magnificent museum."
A 50 year lease at charging a dollar a year, may cost the non–profit more than their original proposal, purchasing the building for a dollar, but Mankato City Council Member Mark Frost says keeping the building a public entity makes it eligible for state funding. Frost says, "They've got some opportunities to make sure that they're successful financially over the years."
And if for some reason the museum isn't successful, the city can designate a different purpose for the building that will still serve the public. Frost says, "It's going to stay a public purpose. It's not going to be turned over into something you might not want there."
The final lease still needs to be approved by the council...however all but one council member have their voiced support of the lease. Olson says, "I'm just relieved we made it through the vote yesterday."
And the real work is just beginning. Olson says, "It is almost insurmountable certain days the amount of work that we need to get done."
But Olson says the end result will make all his hard work worth it.