Could commuters use closed DuPage Children's Museum parking?
The water damage that is forcing the DuPage Children's Museum to close until at least April could end up benefiting some Naperville commuters.
The museum at 301 N. Washington St. has been shuttered since Jan. 9 after a water main burst and caused flooding on all three floors of the building near the downtown Naperville Metra station. Officials announced last week that repairs at the facility will take months.
But while crews continue making repairs inside the building, city officials say they want to explore the possibility of renting more of the museum's parking lot to provide extra spaces for rail commuters this winter and early spring.
The city already owns 57 parking spots in the museum's lot, which is directly west of the Metra station at 105 E. 4th Ave. But city council member Steve Chirico suggested expanding the parking partnership to ease congestion and help the museum with its finances.
"One of the things that was brought to my attention was the parking lot and if the city could reach out to the children's museum to see if there is short-term potential for allowing commuters to park there through the winter to relieve some of that pressure and potentially even allow them to raise some revenues," Chirico said.
City staff members briefly discussed the idea of renting more museum parking last week, and they now plan to pursue it further with museum leaders, said Jennifer Louden, transportation team leader. The museum might need some of the spaces for restoration equipment and vehicles, but Louden said there still could be space for commuters.
Dee Dee McDevitt, DuPage Children's Museum spokeswoman, said the museum is working with the city on details of a potential parking agreement while repairs are proceeding.
She said the proposal to give the museum money in exchange for parking spots is one of several offers of help from museums, restaurants, shops and Naperville organizations.
"We've had an incredible experience with the local business partners in the community reaching out to us and giving us special offers and discounts that we can share with our DCM members. We have a full list of all of those offers on our website," McDevitt said. "It's just been a really positive outreach by the community to the museum, and it's certainly appreciated."
Commuters, too, could appreciate some additional parking spots when wintry weather makes it more difficult to find a space near the Metra station, council member Robert Fieseler said.
"Winter e is a particularly rough time for commuters in the parking lots," Fieseler said. "This is a great idea, particularly when the gap here between the operation of the children's museum happens to be at the same time as the worst weather."