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SIMPLOT MAY BUILD MINING, FARM MUSEUM

Idaho industrialist J.R. Simplot is considering building a museum near Nampa to preserve the heritage of the state's agricultural and mining industries.

"I'm working with people over there to see if they can get it put together," Simplot said Thursday."I'm just looking for a spot right now. I haven't made any commitments," Simplot said. "But if I do it, it will be something worth the time. It will be an attraction."

Nampa Mayor Winston Goering said Simplot has discussed the concept with city officials. The project would include a working, turn-of-the-century farm where crops are planted and harvested, he said.

"It's a great idea. What J.R. wants to do is show how an actual horse-drawn plow works, how a grain drill works. Those things are nostalgic and totally foreign to people today," Goering said.

The museum also may include an old mining town display. Simplot is the former owner of the Yankee Fork Dredge near Stanley, which was converted into a museum after he donated it to the Forest Service.

The city of Nampa would be involved in long-range planning of the Simplot museum but would not be the developer, the mayor said.

"It would be done right. It's got a tremendously good chance of happening. The right people are involved," he said.

Goering said the museum could be partially staffed by volunteers and would be a natural link between a new Snake River Stampede rodeo pavilion and a Boise State University technology center, two other projects that may be built near Nampa.

All three projects could be located in the same area northeast of town, but property has not been acquired yet, Goering said.

If the museum were to be built, the city would likely help developers plan residential subdivisions and hotels surrounding the complex, Goering said.

"If this happens it will be a tremendous legacy," he said.