COLORADO SPRINGS – Planners of a military museum outside Fort Carson need $5.5 million to break ground on time this spring.
The Gazette of Colorado Springs reported that the Mountain Post Historical Association plans to expand a museum outside Gate 1 to pay homage to each unit that has served at Fort Carson since the post was founded in 1942.
The association has raised $500,000. Additional money has been pledged to the project, and the Historical Association president hopes the donors come through as the museum’s target ground-breaking date nears.
The museum’s budget was cut to $6 million in 2011 from an initial proposal of more than $18 million. The change came after the Army pulled nearly $10 million from the project because of budget constraints.
“This is a tough time to be raising money anywhere,” said retired Army Lt. Gen. Ed Soriano. “We totally understand the economic situation today. We’re about to start a very concerted effort to raise the funds.”
The association is considering five construction bids, and it is expected to award a contract for the museum expansion in December or January.
Weather and big donors permitting, the museum will open its doors in spring 2014.
Artifacts that will be housed in the 12,800-square-foot museum currently sit in a smaller temporary museum next to the post’s visitors center.
The smaller museum houses a variety of military artifacts that will be featured in the bigger museum, including World War I and Vietnam War memorabilia and the plug that concealed the hole in the ground where Saddam Hussein was hiding when he was captured by 4th Infantry Division soldiers in late 2003 near Tikrit, Iraq.
Also on display is a money box that once contained $750,000 in U.S. currency that Hussein had in his possession when captured.
“We want people to bring kids there, and not just young kids, but high school kids, college kids, to learn a little bit about history,” Soriano said.
The temporary museum, which opened in summer 2011, cost $750,000 to construct and was paid for with Army funds.