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Group Interested In Railtown

Jamestown, CA – A non-profit group will hold a meeting next month regarding the future of Railtown 1897 in Jamestown.

The Sierra Railway Foundation, led by Tuolumne County resident Isaac Kight, is interested in becoming a managing non-profit group for the park. Railtown is one of 70 state parks scheduled to close next summer.

“Sierra Railway Foundation can provide a vehicle for the local community to be involved with Railtown,” says Kight. “It would be run by local leaders, and financed by local businesses and the community.”

Kight, who was recently appointed to the Tuolumne County Planning Commission, says his group would explore hosting additional events at Railtown in hopes of attracting new riders. He notes that the grounds would work perfectly for special “renaissances type” festivals. Kight would also like to see longer rides offered as an added attraction.

The Sierra Railway Foundation will host a community meeting on Sunday, December 11, at 7pm at the Fire and Ambulance Training Center located on Striker Court in Sonora. If the community is opposed to the Sierra Railway Foundation’s plan, Kight says his group would still be interested in helping with fundraising or marketing at Railtown.

Allowing the foundation to take over operations would have to be approved by the State of California.

There is a second group that has been meeting to discuss the future of the park. Shortly after Railtown showed up on the State Parks closure list, a group of community leaders formed a committee, which includes Supervisor Dick Pland, Chamber of Commerce CEO George Segarini, County Administrator Craig Pedro, EDA Director Larry Cope, Visitors Bureau Director Nanci Sikes, Sonora City Administrator Tim Miller and others. At this time, EDA Director Cope says his group is not endorsing the Sierra Railway Foundation’s plan, but he does offer well wishes.

“It’s great to see that other community leaders have stepped up to also try to find ways to keep the park open,” says Cope. “I’m sure that we will have discussions about many of the ideas that they (SRF) have come up with, and anything that we can all do together will be a positive move forward and hopefully keep Railtown open.”

Cope expects the Railtown committee he is involved with to release their ideas to the public within the next month or so. Railtown is currently scheduled to close after June 30.