There’s a place for kids

We applaud plan to open children’s museum and help revitalize Main Street

We were skeptical upon first hearing of a local woman’s plan to open a children’s museum on the 300 block of Main Street, which is lined by four bars—the Crazy Horse Saloon, Duffy’s Tavern, Lost on Main and the DownLo. It was hard to imagine families gravitating to the space formerly occupied by the Underground on what’s likely the single most nightlife-oriented block in all of Chico.

But after looking into it further (see last week’s Newslines story “For the kids,” by Ken Smith), we see the value in Dana Leslie’s plan to open Chico Children’s Museum, a place for hands-on play and interaction emphasizing real-world professions. The concept is intriguing, but the kicker is Leslie’s plan to revitalize the space. “We want to help clean it up and make the entire block something people can be proud of,” she said. That’s something we can get behind.

Which reminds us of another revitalization effort, albeit one that would have catered to a very different clientele—local businessman Jon Scott’s proposal to rezone downtown to allow for a seven-table card room and restaurant in the vacant spaces at the derelict corner of Third and Main streets. That was voted down 5-1 by the Chico City Council last December, mostly based on business owners’ concerns of allowing gambling downtown, but we applaud his vision of giving the corner a much-needed facelift.

We’re behind any effort to clean up the eyesore that once was the Underground and the children’s museum seems like a good, wholesome option. If we really want to attract more families downtown, particularly to the nearby City Plaza, this is a step in the right direction. Leslie is hoping Chico is supportive enough to help raise about $400,000 to open the museum sometime in 2016. (Donate at That’s no chump change, and it’s going to take a concerted effort from the community. Best of luck to you, Leslie.