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By Muriel Eason
Special to The SUN
Crowdfunding is a way to collect money from the “crowd” — be they local residents or others that want to help with financial contributions to a particular community project, via the Internet. The projects are posted for 30-90 days. Donors can pledge any amount and, if the funding goal is met, the project will be fully funded. If the project funding goal is not met by the end of the posting period, the project will not fund and no donor credit cards will be charged. It is all or nothing.
The Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation (CDC) proposed a joint crowdfunding project with Christine Funk and the Friends of Reservoir Hill to help them raise funds to complete an observation deck at the highest point on Reservoir Hill. It is a low-impact community amenity that will provide a destination for tourists and community members alike to hike to, reflect and enjoy nature. This project has already been approved by town council for spring 2014. The project was set up on citizinvestor.com with a goal of $5,400.
By partnering with the CDC, donated funds are tax deductible and donations of $300 or more are eligible for Enhanced Rural Enterprise Zone Colorado state tax credits of 25 percent. This allowed investor dollars to go much further.
As of Dec. 24, we went over our goal of $5,400 and have actually raised a bit more money, as the full project budget is $18,000. The Levine Family Trust has also agreed to match the funds that were raised. Further contributions are still welcome. You can send a check to Pagosa Springs CDC, P.O. Box 1183, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.
Showing true community spirit, other locals have joined in with in-kind donations. Architectural design of the structure was donated by Jess Wilton. Timbers are being prepared for construction in the spring by local craftsman David Schanzenbaker. Ken Levine paid for the trails to the site to be cleared and widened slightly to allow transport of building materials in the spring. Norm Vance has been working to acquire panoramic photographs from John Mathis, a local photographer, for exhibit panels to educate visitors on the local landscape. This is a true community effort.
Crowdfunding is a new way for our community to fund projects that we collectively want to see completed — whether it is infrastructure for parks, bike racks for downtown, trash receptacles, toilet facilities or sunshades for parks, or anything else that the “crowd” would be willing to fund. All that is required is a great idea, a plan and town or county approvals, if needed. This is a great new tool all citizens can use to improve our community.
Please join us at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 6, at the Ross Aragon Community Center as Christine Funk shares how this project came together and why it succeeded. Muriel Eason of the CDC will review the CDC’s role. Then we will have a community conversation about what else we might do together. A community networking reception with refreshments will follow.