A group named The Citadel is hoping to build a community in the mountains of North Idaho made up of thousands of households. The project would be a "martial endeavor designed to protect residents in times of peril" and "built as a fortified bastion of liberty," according to the group's website, iiicitadel.com.
The plan is to build the community with a fortified castle and firearms museum, and typical city features like a bank, jail and library south of Coeur d'Alene. It would have 3,500 to 7,000 families living on about 2,000 to 3,000 acres, according to the website.
But the fate of the project is very uncertain, according to the group. It isn't clear yet whether it would even be built in Idaho.
"Currently we are a loose collection of several hundred people with a germ of an idea, and honestly not ready to provide you with a cogent interview or even background," an unnamed representative for the group said in an email to the Statesman.
Benewah County is the "first choice" because of its low population density and "shared world-view" of independence, self-sufficiency and patriotism, the website said.
The group has already bought 20 acres of land on top of a mountain in the county, the website said. It hopes to break ground shortly after summer 2013. More than 200 families have applied to join, the website said.
At least one of the core members lives in Idaho, near Coeur d'Alene, the group said.
"It is our hope that the residents of Benewah County will quickly learn that our intent is to be an asset to their lives, not an intrusion," the website said.
The project could be built in Montana, Wyoming or several other Idaho counties, it said.
At the center of the development is a business, III Arms, a modern firearms company that would employ residents. All of the company's profits would be donated to the Citadel.
III Arms Co. was incorporated in Idaho in August. Its headquarters address is in Gaithersburg, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C. A woman whose name is listed as a representative of the company could not be reached by phone Wednesday.
"Additionally, the Citadel intends to become a premiere tourist destination for Americans from sea-to-sea and border-to-border," the website said.
One to two square miles of the Citadel would be protected by walls and towers, the website said.
Residents would have to agree to conditions such as:
Following federal and state constitutions
Being able to shoot a man-sized steel target at various distances with a handgun and a rifle
Keeping on hand a AR-15 semi-automatic rifle variant, at least five magazines, 1,000 rounds of ammunition and other supplies
Keeping every household stocked with enough food, water and other provisions to last a year
Taking courses in areas such as basic medical care, firearms safety and marksmanship
Being armed with a loaded sidearm whenever visiting the Citadel's town center
The application with a $208 fee asks if the person plans to raise livestock, farm, live inside or outside the Citadel's walls or start a business there.
The Citadel will not have a leader, and it started as an idea in the Patriot Blogosphere in early 2012, the website said.
As of early December, the Citadel group said it was waiting on early legal paperwork to be approved by attorneys and the state of Delaware, stressing that the group was waiting for approvals to proceed in earnest.