Kim Fegert, president of the Gold Hill Historical Society, is a no-nonsense-type guy who rarely gets concerned when problems come his way.
But Fegert and the 14 members of the society have recently been dealt a problem of monumental portions -- about $90,000 worth.
The society is committed to helping with the reconstruction of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad between Gold Hill and Carson City. It needs $90,000 to make its part of the project a reality.
"What you're looking at here at the Gold Hill Depot," said Fegert, "is about 9,600 feet of rail we managed to scrounge from different sites in Reno over a period of time. But it's not near enough for the amount of track we have to lay."
Fegert needs the cash for 4 miles of track currently stored in Reno. The track has been donated to the Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T Railway by Granite Construction, which is pulling it up to make way for the Reno trench project. The railway commission,historical society and others are involved in the resurrection of the famed short-line railroad and must pay to move the track to Mound House.
Granite Construction will be in charge of removing the track and has a very short time window to do it in, as does Fegert. Because the historical society has no equipment of its own, a contractor with heavy equipment will have to be hired to cut and load the track at a cost of $73,000.
To transport it to Mound House, the society will have to pay another $14,000, and must come up with the money by Dec. 31. If the raise the funds, track removal will begin around April 1, and must be done within two weeks.
"It's a ton of money," said Fegert, "but it's really a bargain because that track is worth close to a half a million dollars. I've been in contact with some of the larger corporations in Northern Nevada and with members of the casino industry in soliciting donations and instilling in them the importance of this project for all of us in Nevada.
"For years, people have waited to see some progress on this project before they opened their purse. Well, this is it. An opportunity like this may never come our way again. We're way past the talking stage on this project. What we need are players who will step to the plate and swing for the fence. It's the bottom of the ninth, and we're running out of time."
The society has received state grant money. However those funds are earmarked solely for the restoration of the Gold Hill Depot and cannot be used for related projects. Some of that money has recently been spent for the construction of a new foundation at the depot.
The society accepts donations from the public. For donations of $ 50, donors will receive a certificate with their names printed in hand-set foundry type stating they sponsored 1 foot of rail on the historic Virginia & Truckee Railroad. A $100 donation will sponsor 1 foot of finished track.
YOU CAN HELP
What: Gold Hill Historical Society Reconstruction Program
Where: PO Box 1052, Virginia City, NV 89440
When: Donations are needed prior to Dec. 31