National grant allows Fresno science center to keep doors open

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Highway City may be a small community of almost a thousand people near Shaw and Highway 99 but it came up big in winning a park improvement national grant. (KFSN)

A local science center which has struggled to find funding will keep its door open this summer thanks to a big prize.

Highway City may be a small community of almost a thousand people near Shaw and Highway 99, but it came up big in winning a park improvement national grant.

Hand-made projects keep kids at the Highway City Science Center engaged.

"Kids come in and get to be creative," community coordinator Manuel Hernandez said. "This is a place where they tinker."

But getting the vote out is also a science the Highway City center has mastered. Their campaign to win a "Meet Me at the Park" grant paid off.

KFSN-TV General Manager Dan Adams made the big announcement on behalf of ABC30 and the Walt Disney Company. Federal and state grants have dried up so this prize will ensure the science center remains open this summer.

Luis Miranda grew up in Highway City, and he says "it's exciting because we get to offer these things to the kids throughout the summer because there's a lot of downtime, and when there's downtime - idle hands."

Kids will also be able to enjoy a week-long science camp.

"That's going to allow us to take students down to the San Joaquin River on conservancy property, and we'll be able to do a lot of science programming," Hernandez said.

The money also means the science mobile can be taken to all city parks so many other kids can enjoy what it has to offer. This is the fourth year in a row Highway City has won a $20,000 grant.

The first prize helped reopen the center after it was closed for five years when funding ran out.

"When it was closed, there was a lot of homeless here," Miranda said. "There was a lot of drugs going on here. There were a lot of things that weren't very savory."

Now the park's back in use for playtime and family picnics.

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