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City Council Clears Way for Museum Expansion

May 18, 2015
City Council has cleared the way for a massive expansion of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Council voted Monday to extend a lease on city-owned land on which the museum occupies.

The extension, which runs until 2100 – 85 years from now – is necessary for the museum to go ahead with a $150 million renovation and expansion project on the University Circle site.

The project, soon to begin and scheduled for completion in 2019, includes a 130,000-square-foot expansion, a 300-space parking garage and a new wild-life center for rescued animals native to Ohio.

The museum, which has 5 million artifacts and specimens in its collections, attracts more than 250,000 visitors a year. Many come to see its most famous discovery, Lucy,” the remains of a 3.2-million-year-old human ancestor.

“The Museum of Natural History, like many of our highly renowned cultural institutions in Cleveland, is a destination for people from all corners of the world,” said City Council President Kevin Kelley. “City Council unanimously approved the extension of the lease so that the museum can continue growing in its vital mission of educational science and research.”

The museum, which was incorporated in 1920 on lower Euclid Avenue, moved to the city-owned Wade Oval in University Circle in 1958. It pays the city $1 a year in rent.

The legislation also leases to the museum an additional parcel of land along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, on which greenery and trees will be planted.

“The museum is one of the many gems in the cultural crown of University Circle,” said Councilman Kevin Conwell who represents the area. “The expansion complements an ongoing building boom that is transforming the area into a vibrant community.”