Antique vehicle enthusiasts are proposing a new transportation museum in eastern Idaho. It started at a corridor planning meeting in Ashton and a chance conversation between Ashton resident Tom Howell, whose hobby is collecting and restoring old military vehicles, and Cathy Koon, an ITD employee and history buff who is writing a history of transportation in old Fremont County.
Koon, the public information specialist for District 6, mentioned to Howell that ITD has a program that possibly could be tapped to create a transportation museum. It's part of the enhancement program.
Howell started thinking and talking to other old-car enthusiasts. Among them was Bob Bauer of St. Anthony, who has an extensive collection of restored antiques and classics and who owns a number of properties in the St. Anthony area.
Together, they approached the Ashton City Council about sponsoring a grant application for the enhancement funds. When the reception there was not as enthusiastic as they had hoped, the two men approached the St. Anthony City Council with a proposal. It might not have hurt that Koon happens to be a member of the St. Anthony Council.
Bauer has offered a five-acre parcel of property, separated from U.S. 20 by a frontage road (at about milepost 346) as a potential home for the museum. The property donation could be used as a match for the grant. Howell and Bauer said they plan to work with other agencies on the grant application, which must be submitted to the transportation department in January.
Museum proponents plan to apply for the maximum grant amount of $500,000, which Bauer acknowledged is only a part of the funding needed to build a structure large enough to house the museum contents.
The two men envision working with the St. Anthony Chamber of Commerce to place its visitor and information center at the museum. They have met with Kathy Moon of the Fremont County Historical Society about cooperating to add space for other historical artifacts.
Museums don't make money, Bauer told the council. But they do bring business into town.
The St. Anthony City Council voted to sponsor the application. If the group is successful, the money would be available in 2008.