RD384 - Results of a Feasibility Study for a Proposed Natural Science Interpretive Facility near the South Entrance of the Shenandoah National Park, Downtown Waynesboro

Executive Summary:
The Virginia Museum of Natural History proposes to establish a branch facility in Downtown Waynesboro and draw some 65,000 people to the downtown. This will a) help VMNH reach new and underserved audiences, b) generate a revenue stream, and c) create an economic driver for a rebounding city. At a cost of $10 million to establish, VMNH will interpret the natural heritage of the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding region and provide important informal public education while creating a science resource for the region’s schools. A university-grade research laboratory will promote significant science on the South River. It is estimated the facility will have an annual operation cost of $242,000, generate $324,000 in revenue, and therefore have an $82,000 operating profit each year. The studies conducted show the facility can be established, reach a significant audience, and operate in a sustainable fashion while creating a revenue stream for the agency. The economic impact on Downtown Waynesboro will come in the form of visitors utilizing shops, restaurants, and other cultural amenities. We recommend the establishment of this proposed interpretive facility to act as a cultural anchor and an economic driver for a city that is a Gateway for hundreds of thousands of people to the Shenandoah National Park.