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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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CMoR focused on city of Fredericksburg for local branch

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The Children’s Museum of Richmond is targeting the city of Fredericksburg for its local branch, according to a recent grant application.

CMoR plans to open the branch in April in a roughly 12,000-square-foot leased space somewhere in the city of Fredericksburg, according to a $10,000 grant application that the not-for-profit recently submitted to the city’s Economic Development Authority.

The grant would help CMoR with “build out expenses to help outfit” an “older building” in the city.

CMoR President and CEO Karen Coltrane has looked at specific locations for the branch but has not yet announced a decision on exactly where the museum will go.

Coltrane on Wednesday said she has gotten ample calls from local commercial real estate brokers about potential spaces anytime an article has run on CMoR’s plans. She said CMoR is keeping all its options open until a lease is signed.

This will be CMoR’s fourth branch. The other three are all in the Richmond area.

A feasibility study that CMoR conducted earlier this year showed that “Fredericksburg is in need of a children’s museum” and would both benefit from and take pride in the facility, according to the grant application. The museum anticipates that there will be more than 140,000 visitors annually at the Fredericksburg branch.

The branch will be open 361 days a year from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. A full-time manager and multiple part-time employees including educators, sales associates and “birthday buddies” will be hired.

The Fredericksburg EDA will vote on the grant request at its Nov. 18 meeting.

CMoR also submitted a separate, $3,000 grant request to the EDA to help cover the costs of a Jan. 11 planned fundraising event called “Twilight Carniball” at the Jepson Alumni Executive Center in Fredericksburg. Tickets are now on sale through CMoR’s website for that event, which is patterned after one CMoR has done in Richmond. It will include live music, auctions, and food, drink and entertainment with a German theme.

CMoR has already raised $250,000 toward the estimated $620,000 needed to open its local branch, according to the grant application. Coltrane said previously that CMoR has received a financial commitment from a Fredericksburg-area resident for a lead fundraising gift in the six figures, as well as several other significant financial pledges from area residents.

The local branch will contain “hands-on exhibits that inspire exploration and learning” for children ages 8 and under, according to the grant application. Like other CMoR locations, it will include an art studio, science exhibits, classrooms, a performing arts stage and a “Town Square” to inspire pretend play.