Last Chance Joe has some supporters who want to make sure he keeps his post outside the Sparks Heritage Museum on Victorian Avenue.
The museum in the past few weeks has collected a number of sizable donations to the Last Chance Joe fund, museum manager Kelly Reis reports.
Reis said the fundraising effort, which began after Joe was moved from the Nugget hotel to the museum in 2014, has generated about $45,000.
The latest donations have been made by two companies involved in construction projects in Victorian Square: Silverwing Development and LandCap Investment Partners.
“We still could use some more support, but we’re pretty darn close,” Reis said.
“There is so much energy in the air, and it’s wonderful to see people valuing history alongside progress.”
The museum is using the donations to restore Joe, Sparks’ iconic 36-foot-tall statue, maintain him and pay for the bill for his move from the Nugget. The one-toothed prospector with a white beard, floppy hat and pistol on each hip needs restoration work because of damage from the move and from being exposed to the elements outside the museum.
“Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Last Chance Joe should be fully restored in the coming months, Reis said. “That being said, historic preservation is an ongoing process, particularly for such a fragile statue exposed to the elements. In order to keep Joe properly sealed and preserved, we will be instituting a maintenance plan.”
Reis said the donations will allow the museum to consult on the restoration with a professional who will be visiting Sparks in the coming weeks to train a crew in the correct restoration methods.