- Associated Press - Saturday, June 25, 2016

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - The opening of the U.S. Olympic Museum proposed for Colorado Springs is unlikely to happen by February 2018 as planned.

The date was chosen by organizers who wanted to dedicate the museum to coincide with the winter Olympics.

Museum board chairman Dick Celeste said organizers still need to raise about $10 million for the museum, which is expected to cost more than $70 million.

Organizers are asking people to donate documents such as training schedules, photographs, scrapbooks, medals, ribbons, uniforms and old training equipment to go on display.

Groundbreaking for the facility this spring had to be postponed. Celeste said he won’t start the project until all of the money has been raised.

“I’m not going to greenlight a project when we don’t have all of our hard costs covered,” he said.

Celeste said it’s probably going to be very hard to achieve that target of opening in time for the 2018 winter games, which start in February 2018 in South Korea.

Museum board treasurer B.J. Hybl said the date isn’t important.

“The museum still opens, you still get the tourists. But you miss some of the fanfare around the Olympics,” Hybl said.

Fund-raisers said the shortfall is due to competition between nonprofit organizations for money, and people who are on vacation that make it difficult to hold fund-raising events.

The Colorado Springs-based U.S. Olympic Committee and the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau said they’re not concerned about a delay, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported (https://tinyurl.com/hvu682l ).

“We just know that they will get it done, they’ll get it done right and as far as we’re concerned, as long as they break ground by December of 2018, for us, we will still be on track with what the state expects us to do,” said Doug Price, president and CEO of the visitors bureau.

U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky said the committee is “100 percent supportive” of the museum’s plans. The U.S. Olympic Committee has signed a 30-year agreement that allows the museum to showcase Olympic artifacts and displays.

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Online:

Olympic Museum: https://www.usolympicmuseum.org/

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Information from: The Gazette, https://www.gazette.com

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