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Jamestown, CA – With Railtown 1897 set for closure in July of 2012, a group has formed to investigate ways to keep it operational.

The state park in Jamestown is one of 70 that will be closed due to budget cuts.

“It is definitely a major contributor to the economy in Tuolumne County,” says committee member Dick Pland. “There are a lot of different possibilities, and right now we’re still in the formative stages and accumulating information.”

Various ideas are being looked into, and a final decision would still have to be approved by the state. Ideas include the formation of a new non-profit entity, allow partial privatization, create some type of tourism improvement district, or apply for available grant funding.

The group has also had talks about the future of Sierra Number 3, which has been dubbed the “Movie Star Train.” It has been featured in popular films like Back to the Future 3. “There was a lot of effort locally to get that rebuilt, so we don’t want it to all of a sudden go someplace else,” adds Pland. “Even if the park is closed, at some point it will get re-opened, and we want Number 3 to remain available as one of the main drawing cards.”

The committee is made up of community leaders and includes EDA Director Larry Cope, County Administrator Craig Pedro, City Administrator Tim Miller, Railtown Superintendent Kim Baker, Chamber of Commerce President and CEO George Segarini and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Nanci Sikes. The group is meeting monthly.