- Associated Press - Saturday, April 19, 2014

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The Children’s Museum of Siouxland, set to open in 2015 in downtown Sioux City, has been awarded a $900,000 state grant.

The award means the nearly $6 million project is almost fully funded, museum executive director Kari Kellen told the Sioux City Journal (http://bit.ly/1gULUJz ) on Friday.

“These are really the final dollars that we need to begin construction,” Kellen said.

The museum has $100,000 to $200,000 still left to raise, she said.

The Vision Iowa Community Attraction and Tourism, or CAT, grant is awarded to projects that provide recreational, cultural, entertainment and educational attractions to a community.

The museum is geared for interactive, hands-on learning through play for children between the ages of 6 months and 10 years. Exhibits will meet educational guidelines for the state of Iowa, focusing on STEM - or science, technology, engineering and math - learning principles.

Organizers plan to solicit bids in July for the 16,000-square-foot project. Construction is expected to begin in late summer and be completed about a year later.

Once built, the museum is expected to be self-sustaining through admission fees. Museum officials estimate 50,000 visitors will come in the first year, creating a $2 million economic impact for Sioux City.

Sioux City Councilwoman Rhonda Capron said the new museum will also help create “a lot of fun jobs.”

“You’ll be working with kids, and they’ll be doing all kinds of things within the museum with nutrition and agriculture,” she said.

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com