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Steel frame of Canalside children's museum topped off

Hard-hat wearing kids scrawled their signatures on the final steel beam.

If you are near Canalside today, look for the American flag and the evergreen tree on top of the structural steel for the new Explore & More Children's Museum. The construction industry mark signals the topping off of the $27 million project.

Credit Mike Desmnd / WBFO News
The American flag and an evergreen tree top off the structural steel portion of construction.

The beam carried the scrawled signatures of hard hat-wearing kids who had come to see how their museum was coming along. Museum Board Chairman Barry Swartz said the topping-off ceremony was another sign of the progress of the museum.

"This is a proud day in the museum's transformation," Swartz said. "We invite you back to join us when we open our doors to our community's children and we reflect upon what is because of the support of all of you versus what could have been."

Explore & More is expected to attract tens of thousands of families to Canalside wanting to find the year-round play and education opportunities the facility will represent. It is adjacent to the ice rink at Canalside.

Mike Desmond
The new Explore & More Children's Museum will open adjacent to Canalside's ice rink.

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation President Tom Dee said the museum will eventually add to the family attractions of Canalside, citing the museum for its early work on the waterfront.

"[They], years ago, joined with Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, probably in 2009-2010, and they offered children's program out on the Central Wharf way back then," Dee said. "So, soon, Explore & More will be bringing an additional 250,000 visitors to downtown and Canalside. Explore & More will become an even greater, more accessible resource for school children from every part of the city and region."

The museum is slated to be finished late next year or in early 2019.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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