The family of Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. donated $125,000 for a bronze memorial in remembrance of the nine people who died at Utah's Crandall Canyon Mine last summer.
Huntsman and his father, industrialist Jon Huntsman Sr., cut separate personal checks to save the project, which was in jeopardy because of a lack of funding.
Huntington Mayor Hilary Gordon said the governor handed her the check from his father Wednesday after a signing ceremony for mining-safety legislation.
The Huntsman family didn't want to make its donation public but confirmed it after The Associated Press learned about it, said Lisa Roskelley, a spokeswoman for the governor.
"Their goal was just to make sure the project happened," she said.
Gov. Huntsman had previously given $25,000 of his own money and capped off the family's donation with a check from his father for $100,000.
Together with donations from the miners' families and others, that's almost enough for a project that will cost $150,000. Gordon said the city will still have to raise a small amount of money, but that the task will be much less daunting.
"It means we don't have to worry so much about funding the project. It can go forward," Huntington City Councilwoman Julie Jones said. "We would have had to do some major fundraisers, and Huntington is only about 1,900 people."
Helper artist Karen Jobe Templeton has been working for months, with little compensation, molding bronze portraits of the nine dead for a street corner in Huntington.
Separately, Murray Energy Corp. plans to build a memorial not far from the walled-off Crandall Canyon mine entrance. It will occupy a serene spot in the canyon as a symbol of the miners' sacrifice.
A thunderous collapse, so powerful it registered as a 3.9 earthquake, trapped six men in the Crandall Canyon Mine Aug. 6. Their bodies remain entombed there. Three other men were killed 10 days later trying to tunnel in to rescue the miners.