Comptroller recommends surplus money be used for science, children's museums

Apr 30, 2015

Investing in kid-friendly cultural institutions is good for both families and the economy according to Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw, who is proposing $3 million in capital investments for the Buffalo Museum of Science and the future Explore & More Children's Museum at Canalside.

Explore & More, which currently operates a small, but popular museum in East Aurora, has raised roughly $7 million of its $10 million fundraising goal for the new facility at the site of the former Memorial Auditorium. Mychajliw is suggesting the county chip in $2 million for the project.

Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw is encouraging county officials to approve a $1 million investment in the Buffalo Museum of Science.

"It's our understanding that with $2 million for Explore & More, this will put them over the hump and actually turn their dream of being on Canalside a reality. We can have shovels in the ground," Mychajliw told WBFO Thursday.

A $1 million capital grant would allow the science museum to open up its front facade and a stairway entrance that has been closed since 1977. The comptroller says doing so would allow the museum to display larger exhibits that are currently restricted due to lack of space.

"If they are able to rebuild their front entrance...they will have a lot more space to expand programming and a lot more funds to actually invest in their programming," he said.

Mychajliw says investing in family-friendly facilities is both noble and fiscally wise. He says taxpayers dollars should be used to support family-friendly cultural institutions.

"I don't see how you can't support smart investments in children and their families, especially when we can strengthen what we have in Canalside and make a really strong investment in the East side of Buffalo," Mychajliw added.

Mychajliw says Erie County has a surplus of $9.4 million from the 2014 fiscal year. His recommendations will be considered by the county legislature in the coming weeks. They would need to be approved by both the legislature and the county executive.