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Museum funding could come from overseas

Becky Bosshart
Appeal Staff Writer

Ancestry is important to the Chinese, and a museum in Carson City honoring their heritage would be appreciated, said a local Chinese businessman.

Affluent Chinese who are eager to invest in the United States may see this as an opportunity, said Peter Shao, who owns Beijing Palace in South Carson City.

“The (Chinese Workers Museum) shows a great appreciation for the Chinese people,” he said. “If you are recognizing my ancestors’ work, that’s a great appreciation. And for Chinese investors, it’s a good attraction for them to invest here.”

That’s what the museum’s steering committee would like to see happen. Unveiled Friday, the project directors need to raise more than $50 million to build two six-story Chinese gateway buildings and a six-story conical glass building that will make up the museum complex. Khan Tung, co-director of the museum, said he is seeking volunteers for the fundraising committee.

The museum will honor the Chinese who worked on the railroad and in other sectors of industry. The project came to Carson City because of high land costs in Reno and also because of the historical connection to the Virginia & Truckee Railroad.

Back in 1869, Chinese workers graded the railroad up to the Comstock Lode, where they were then replaced because of conflicts with the miners unions, according to historical record. A steam locomotive rumbling down the reconstructed V&T 18-mile tourist track should pass by the museum in late 2009.

The V&T depot, which is where tourists will catch the steam engine up to Virginia City, is expected to be located up the road from the museum. Carson City Mayor Marv Teixeira said these projects will benefit from one another.

“If you’ve got the Chinese museum and you’ve got the V&T Railway, you surround that with amenities, it has the potential of being something very, very significant to the whole area,” he said.

RIDL Ltd., a local developer, has proposed a 150-acre retail, office and residential center adjacent to the V&T depot and the museum, off Highway 50 East and Drako Way.

Candy Duncan, Carson City Convention & Visitors Bureau executive director, said Carson City could support such a large development, because the train is coming.

“If they (RIDL) do everything that they’re planning to do, I’m sure it’ll be similar to what you find in Las Vegas, maybe bigger,” she said. “If the whole vision comes through, it would be the largest destination resort in Northern Nevada that I’m aware of.”

— Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at bbosshart@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.