BOUNTIFUL -- Fundraising for a new regional museum in south Davis County has picked up steam, and a local organizer says the project is now within $400,000 of the $1.5 million needed to turn the first shovel of dirt.
Dean Collinwood, chairman of the Bountiful Historic Commission, said $1.1 million has been raised locally to support building the new facility.
He said he believes local organizers will be able to raise the $1.5 million needed to initiate the project before a July 2011 deadline set by the Bountiful City Council to provide a matching pledge of $750,000.
Original plans called for the museum project to begin in 2009, but fundraising efforts stalled when the economy went south, forcing museum organizers to ask for an extension on the matching pledge from the city.
The city council extended the pledge for two years.
The regional museum will be on city property on South Main Street between the Bountiful/Davis Arts Center and the historic Willey Cabin.
"We're very hopeful," Collinwood said of the current fundraising trend and the improving economy.
If things go as planned, the regional facility's 15,000 square feet will showcase history from the southern part of the county and include a theater with seating for up to 60 people.
The building is also expected to be an archive for records and journals from the past.
As part of a regional approach, fundraising efforts are being expanded beyond Bountiful, and Centerville city officials have committed to financially contributing to the project.
The museum will be more than just a pioneer museum, Collinwood said. It is important to recognize historical achievements since the pioneers settled the area and also to chronicle the American Indian influence on the area before pioneers arrived.