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SciTech aims for agreement with Fox Valley Park District

Pho2: Owen Thicksten 6 watches as paper peace dove he made SciTech Hands-On Museum flies through an air tube. The

Photo 2: Owen Thicksten, 6, watches as the paper peace dove he made at SciTech Hands-On Museum flies through an air tube. The activity was inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and staffed by volunteers participating in Aurora's Day of Service. Kalyn Be

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Updated: March 7, 2014 1:47PM

AURORA — Aurora’s SciTech Hands On Museum will pursue a service partnership agreement with the Fox Valley Park District, SciTech Board President John Duggan confirmed Wednesday.

The move aims to increase attendance at SciTech while providing a new opportunity to Fox Valley Park District residents, Duggan said. The proposed partnership is still in a “conceptual” phase, he said, and the SciTech Board is working to draft an application for Park District funding now.

Park districts are tasked with supporting museums, and about 15 percent of the Museum of Science and Industry’s operating budget is funded by the Chicago Park District, Duggan said.

Duggan declined to talk specifics of a possible proposal, including what financial commitment SciTech would receive annually from the Park District or the preferred admission rate Park District residents would receive from SciTech. “It’s too early to talk scope or services or numbers,” he said.

SciTech general admission is $8; senior admission is $6; children 3 and under are free. Under the direction of Executive Director Arlene Hawks, admission has been free for area kids at recent Super Saturday events, Duggan said. Duggan has served on the SciTechBoard since 2006.

If an agreement is eventually considered and approved by both boards, SciTech would likely add staff to prepare for larger crowds, according to Duggan.

Fox Valley Park District Board Secretary Cindy Hernandez said the Park District Board had not yet considered an agreement or application. She said the board will soon be examining the organization’s annual budget.

The Fox Valley Park District’s next board meeting is at 6 p.m. Monday at the Prisco Community Center, 150 W. Illinois Ave.

The SciTech Hands On Museum, at 18 W. Benton St., features more than 200 hands-on exhibits.

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