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Longview WOW receives matching $10K grant

By Richard Yeakley
June 19, 2013 at 11 p.m.


Longview's first children's hands-on discovery center received a $10,000 matching grant for its downtown facade earlier this month.

Officials with Longview World of Wonders called the grant a blessing and said it will help build a discovery center in downtown Longview as soon as early 2014.

"We really need to be able to get our funding, so we can get our center open sooner. Just having the Main Street grant really shows the community is behind Longview WOW and what we are doing," said Michelle Norris, the facilities and operations chairwoman for the nonprofit organization.

Kayla Cantey, main street manager, said Longview WOW was the first organization to receive one of three $10,000 matching grants for facade work in downtown Longview.

Applications for the grant are open until September; however, if no other applicant submits their paperwork by Aug. 1, Longview WOW may reapply for additional funding.

A matching grant means that for each dollar spent by Longview WOW, they will be given a dollar up to $10,000.

Norris said the facade, designed by Hugman Architecture & Construction, will cost upwards of $50,000.

A building permit, approved by the city of Longview in May, indicated a new facade for Longview World of Wonders and remodeling the primary restrooms would cost about $200,000.

Longview WOW would apply for additional funds if the opportunity becomes available, she said.

The facade is one of the first steps in a proposed $1.9 million project of bringing the discovery center to life in the 17,000-square-foot former Texas Furniture Building at 112 E. Tyler Street.

The first phase of construction would include preparing the entryway and two standing exhibits, Energy City and Build It!

Energy City will feature different types of energy sources, focusing on those found in East Texas and explaining how those sources interact.

Build It! will feature LEGO bricks and a "free-build zone" for all ages of children to explore and play with the construction materials.

Additional phases would include office space and developing temporary exhibits that fill the remainder of the flooring.

Norris said work on the facade should begin in the next month.

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