Hollywood Stuntmen's Hall of Fame Inc. has 40 days to register as a Utah business so a contract establishing Moab as the permanent home of the museum can be completed, the City Council has decided.

In a unanimous decision Thursday, the council said it will allow the facility to operate on a maintenance-only basis until Jan. 31.A private gift shop that museum founder-director John Hagner operates inside the building will be closed to walk-in business. But Hagner will be allowed to continue residing in an apartment in the building that the city has subsidized as part of the contract, Mayor Tom Stocks said.

Hagner is also to dissolve the Hollywood Stuntmen's Hall of Fame as a private corporation in California and establish the non-profit organization as a Utah enterprise by the same name, council said.

The city is administrator of public funds awarded by the state to develop the museum and provides for the building housing the facility.

The decision followed an hourlong session at City Hall. Whether the council will appoint a new board of directors to oversee the operation on behalf of the city was not addressed.

Last month, the council passed a resolution creating a nine-member advisory board to the stunt men's Hall of Fame, in effect disbanding the existing board.

The mayor said Thursday night that the council will be the governing board to administer remaining public funds.

The actions stem from an impasse over terms of a contract the Moab Film Commission negotiated with Hagner on behalf of the city to establish the stunt men's museum in Moab, with supplementary agreements to provide nearly a quarter-million dollars from government grants.

At a council meeting earlier in the week, Stocks revealed that the contract had not been signed last December as was planned.

Stocks said Thursday that he believes Hagner has performed according to contract and the agreement is binding even though it has yet to be drafted in final form and signed.

"My feeling is we have an agreement with John Hagner since he came here - a verbal contract that's in writing - and the memorabilia should all belong to the Hall of Fame (in Moab)," Stocks said. "The rest of the stuff owned by him should be moved some place else."

Stocks said that legally the Hollywood Stuntmen's Hall of Fame had remained a private corporation of California, even though Hagner moved to Utah with the corporation's assets.

Hagner has spent a lifetime collecting stunt-man-related memorabilia and movie-industry artifacts. In 1984 he turned the hobby into a business, forming the non-profit corporation and displaying the collection at various facilities in California. While searching for a permanent facility, he had the collection stored in a warehouse in Palmdale, Calif.

Through the film commission, Hagner visited Moab and began negotiating with Film Commission Director Bette Stanton to move the museum to Moab.

The contract called for Hagner to place in the public trust for a 10-year period 420 or more boxes and crates of memorabilia and concrete impressions of 222 footprints and signatures of stunt men, stunt women and other Hollywood celebrities.

Stocks said Hagner had minor objections to certain provisions in the contract when he arrived to sign it Dec. 5, 1987, and it never was completed.

Stocks said a major cause for delay was Stanton and the city attorney's insistence upon a complete inventory of memorabilia to attach to the contract before it was signed.