Florida could be home to the national Mustang museum
Have you visited a Ford lately? Did you know Florida has two cities in the running to become the permanent home of the Mustang Museum?
We’re talking cars, not horses or airplanes.
I spoke to Chris Hoverman, chairman of the museum site selection committee, who told me Orlando and Daytona Beach have made it to a short list of 10 candidate cities after the committee, which met the weekend of April 19-20, whittled down a preliminary list of 25 potential sites.
The committee will meet with representatives from the remaining candidates in early June at a gathering at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. By late August, the 10 cities will be narrowed to those four that offer the best combination of features sought by museum supporters. A final decision will be made in the first quarter of 1998.
And what kind of features is the museum looking for?
Hoverman answered that question without hesitation: “We need land.”
About 30 acres to be exact – make that 30 affordable acres. “I’ve got cities that’ll sell me land at a million dollars an acre,” Hoverman said sardonically. Obviously a better deal is one of the goals.
But they’re also looking for location location location – with sufficient nearby attractions to draw about 300,000 visitors per year to the museum.
Would a 30-acre parcel in attraction-rich Orlando be a good draw? Hoverman answered with an unqualified maybe. It would depend on where in Orlando that parcel lay, he said. A site that was inaccessible or located in an undesirable area wouldn’t do the museum or Mustang fans any good. Hoverman also expressed a little bit of concern over the fact that Orlando is already glutted with attractions. But the weather in the Southeast is a factor in its favor, he added. And so is Florida’s existing tourist machinery, which brings in tens of thousands of visitors every year.
A deciding factor could be enthusiastic support from Orlando or Daytona Beach – either the cities themselves or local businesses.
Neither Orlando nor Daytona Beach is very close to Okaloosa County, so having the Mustang Museum in one of those cities might not make a huge difference to local folks. But if the museum goes to a California site, not many of the people who would put in a day’s drive could see it either.
Besides, it’s kind of a matter of pride that the museum be located in Florida.
I don’t know what you could do to help, unless you’ve got connections on the Orlando or Daytona Beach economic development councils or chambers of commerce. But we’ll hope for the best. The Corvette museum is out in the middle of nowhere (Kentucky). We’ll hope the Mustang doesn’t suffer the same fate.
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This column was originally published in the April 30, 1997 Northwest Florida Daily News and is used with permission.
About the author:
Del Stone Jr. is a professional fiction writer. He is known primarily for his work in the contemporary dark fiction field, but has also published science fiction and contemporary fantasy. Stone’s stories, poetry and scripts have appeared in publications such as Amazing Stories, Eldritch Tales, and Bantam-Spectra’s Full Spectrum. His short fiction has been published in The Year’s Best Horror Stories XXII; Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine; the Pocket Books anthology More Phobias; the Barnes & Noble anthologies 100 Wicked Little Witch Stories, Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, and 100 Astounding Little Alien Stories; the HWA anthology Psychos; and other short fiction venues, like Blood Muse, Live Without a Net, Zombiesque and Sex Macabre. Stone’s comic book debut was in the Clive Barker series of books, Hellraiser, published by Marvel/Epic and reprinted in The Best of Hellraiser anthology. He has also published stories in Penthouse Comix, and worked with artist Dave Dorman on many projects, including the illustrated novella “Roadkill,” a short story for the Andrew Vachss anthology Underground from Dark Horse, an ashcan titled “December” for Hero Illustrated, and several of Dorman’s Wasted Lands novellas and comics, such as Rail from Image and “The Uninvited.” Stone’s novel, Dead Heat, won the 1996 International Horror Guild’s award for best first novel and was a runner-up for the Bram Stoker Award. Stone has also been a finalist for the IHG award for short fiction, the British Fantasy Award for best novella, and a semifinalist for the Nebula and Writers of the Future awards. His stories have appeared in anthologies that have won the Bram Stoker Award and the World Fantasy Award. Two of his works were optioned for film, the novella “Black Tide” and short story “Crisis Line.”
Stone recently retired after a 41-year career in journalism. He won numerous awards for his work, and in 1986 was named Florida’s best columnist in his circulation division by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors. In 2001 he received an honorable mention from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for his essay “When Freedom of Speech Ends” and in 2003 he was voted Best of the Best in the category of columnists by Emerald Coast Magazine. He participated in book signings and awareness campaigns, and was a guest on local television and radio programs.
As an addendum, Stone is single, kills tomatoes and morning glories with ruthless efficiency, once tied the stem of a cocktail cherry in a knot with his tongue, and carries a permanent scar on his chest after having been shot with a paintball gun. He’s in his 60s as of this writing but doesn’t look a day over 94.
Contact Del at [email protected]. He is also on Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, tumblr, TikTok, Ello and Instagram. Visit his website at delstonejr.com .