New Donner Memorial State Park museum hits obstacle | SierraSun.com

New Donner Memorial State Park museum hits obstacle

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun
Artists rendering of proposed exterior of Donner Memorial Museum
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Work scheduled to start this spring on Donner Memorial State Park’s new museum has been delayed by a year.

Called the High Sierra Crossing Museum, the proposed 9,100-square-foot building will replace the aging Emigrant Trail Museum in the state park. Plans originally called for construction to begin last month, but a delay in funding has set groundbreaking back by a year.

“There was a delay in matching federal transportation grants, which means construction would have to begin in May of ’09 and museum opening in 2010,” said Susan Grove, Lake Tahoe sector superintendent for California State Parks.

The estimated $5 to $5.5 million project was to be paid for by a state park bond and a matching transportation grant, Grove said.

Recent constrictions to the state park system budget did not affect Donner Memorial State Park or the pending museum, however, Grove said.

The state budget called for a 10 percent cut, or $13.5 million, from state parks, which would have meant closing down parks, including nearby Malakoff Diggins, Grove said.

“The governor restored the funding so we are not going to have to close any parks, but we are still in a dire situation,” Grove said.

California State Park personnel surveyed the site for findings of archeological significance in preparation for construction starting in 2006, but Grove said nothing substantial was found.

“It would have been exciting, but on the other hand it would have caused delays and added cost, so its a good thing,” Grove said.