The FEVR rail line connecting Fremont and Hooper is officially on its way to becoming a rail trail.
After over two decades of sitting idle, the old dinner train rail line will once again see life on its historic path. On Dec. 31, the FEVR
Rail to Trail Foundation received the land in a transfer from Fremont Northern, LLC of Kansas City, Mo., with the intent to create a bike trail connecting the two communities.
A small group of interested parties consisting of representatives from the City of Fremont, Dodge County Board of Supervisors, Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce, Dodge County Visitors Bureau, and the Greater Fremont Development Council have been meeting since June of 2020, regarding the offer of sale from the previous owners.
Stan Darling, vice president at Pinnacle Bank, is the president of the newly formed FEVR Rails to Trails Foundation.
“Amber Barton and I, with the help and many other community members, have invested countless hours over the last 18 months, exploring the idea of the FEVR Bike/Walking Trail,” he said. “We’re excited to see it become a reality.”
Darling said the trail will be beneficial for the area.
“We believe it will become a signature feature for quality of life in our area and be an economic catalyst for the communities of Fremont, Nickerson and Hooper,” he said. “Our vision is a bike path that connects our existing Fremont bike trail system through Fremont, with this new trail on to Nickerson and Hooper, for visitors as well as residents from all three communities.”
Fremont Mayor Joey Spellerberg said the project is an exciting tourism and recreation opportunity for the city.
“This railroad has history in tourism with the Pathfinder and Fremont Dinner Train and it is fitting it will now transform into one of the premier trails in eastern Nebraska,” he said. “As Mayor, I couldn’t be more excited about the FEVR Rail to Trail project.”
Construction of the 17-mile FEVR Trail is expected to cost several millions of dollars. The vast majority of the funding is expected to come from various
grants through organizations like the National Rails to Trails Conservancy, Game and Parks, etc. However, the FEVR Rail to Trail Foundation will have a capital campaign to raise additional dollars from local businesses and individuals who want to invest in the project.
Pinnacle Bank has made the initial donation to the project and those interested in donating to the trail can send a check designated to the
“Fremont Rail to Trail Fund” to the Fremont Area Community Foundation; 1005 E. 23rd St.; Suite No. 2; Fremont, NE 68025.
The foundation is also currently looking for community members who would be willing to serve on various committees including construction, funding, promotion, and marketing.