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Neon Museum in Vegas heading toward 2012 opening

LAS VEGAS >> Officials in Las Vegas say work is continuing toward a summer 2012 opening of a Neon Museum on a three-acre site that has become the final resting place for brightly lighted signs that once beckoned gamblers to casinos.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that officials expect to complete construction in six months of a visitor center using the remodeled shell of the former La Concha motel. The museum would open 30 days later.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said she expected the opening would help attract visitors to downtown Las Vegas, where construction of a symphony hall, Mob Museum and new city hall is also under way.

“When they hear about the Boneyard and the Neon Museum, it is going to be a real draw,” Goodman said. “New Orleans has Bourbon Street and their jazz, and Las Vegas has the neon.”

A preservation organization founded in 1996 cares for the site, which is a popular place for tours and photo and film shoots.

Goodman said raising the profile of the museum would result in more people seeking to film there. As Goodman has stated, one of her goals is to attract more film projects to Las Vegas, but so far she hasn’t announced any.

Neon Museum board Chairman Bill Marion said the museum project, including a small city park adjacent to the visitors center site, cost about $6 million funded with public and private sources.

The sources include the Las Vegas Centennial Commission, which gets money from sales of specialized license plates; the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act, which raises funds through Bureau of Land Management sales of public land; the National Scenic Byways Program; the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which gets money through hotel room taxes; and the State Office of Historic Preservation.

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