The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners authorized on Thursday an agreement between the county and the City of Winston-Salem for $2 million in demolition, design and construction improvements at Liberty Plaza in downtown Winston-Salem.
The city would rent Liberty Plaza to Forsyth County for 50 years at a cost of $1 a year, as long as the site is used for museum, educational, governmental or associated purposes. The city would also pay the county the $2 million for the work to be done on the site, which is at North Liberty and West Third streets.
Specific plans for the site have not been determined.
The county and city, as well as Kaleideum, want improvements at Liberty Plaza to coincide with the design of a nature science center and children’s museum on an adjacent site at 120 W. Third St. That site is the former home of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.
Kaleideum is a joint effort between the former Children’s Museum and SciWorks, which merged on July 1, 2016.
“We assume there’s going to be a Kaleideum project because they are out raising money,” Forsyth County Manager Dudley Watts said of Kaleideum. “We know that there’s a target they’ve got to meet before we move to that next step.”
The county has agreed to spend $30.5 million to construct a new Kaleideum building. Kaleideum officials have been working to raise $10 million through a capital campaign to pay for exhibits and other features that will go inside the new building. The county has required that Kaleideum raise $8 million before construction could start on the building.
With the approval for the interlocal agreement, county staff will bring to the county commissioners a demolition plan and a contract for the demolition of Liberty Plaza and the building on the site, Watts said.
“What we have been requesting, and it makes a ton of sense, is let’s evaluate the value of that property pre- and post-demolition,” he said.
The board also authorized a change to a contract with Frank L. Blum Construction Co. The county will pay the company $130,700 for preconstruction services for the Kaleideum project.