The city's wishes to build a National Railroad Hall of Fame Museum and IMAX-type theater at Union Station could hinge on negotiations with a nationally recognized fund-raising organization.
Don Bruey, assistant to the Mayor Glenn Mecham, said a report by Odell and Simms of Falls Church, Va., found the proposed railroad museum could attract thousands of visitors from across the nation, especially if it targets parents with small children or people older than 55 years old.But the report said it would take 200,000 to 300,000 visitors a year to make the museum self-supporting.
To be truly successful, the report recommends a scaled-down version of the theaters built by the IMAX company, which show large-format films at tourist sites like the Grand Canyon, the Smithsonian Institution and the Johnson Space Museum.
Bruey said the city wants to target potential donors nationwide to build the museum instead of asking for local money. There is no price tag on the proposed museum, but it would likely cost millions of dollars.
Odell and Simms were the principal fund-raisers for the new American Air Museum in England.
The museum idea was first suggested in 1969 because of its proximity to Promontory Point where the first transcontinental railroad lines were joined 100 years earlier. But the idea failed to make much headway until it was announced that the Olympics would come to Utah.