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By Muriel Eason
Special to The SUN
Crowdfunding is a way to collect small or large amounts of money from the “crowd” via the Internet — be they local residents or others who want to help with financial contributions to a particular community project.
Projects will be posted for 60 days. Donors decide what amount to give and, if sufficient amounts are donated, the project will be fully funded. If the required donations are not raised by the end of the 60 days, the project will not fund and no donor credit cards will be charged.
The Friends of Reservoir Hill have partnered with the Pagosa Springs CDC to propose the first true community development project through Citizinvestor.com to help fund an observation deck at the top of Reservoir Hill. The Levine Family Trust has also agreed to match the funds raised on Citizinvestor.com. This project has already been approved by Town Council for spring 2014.
This observation deck will be a way for residents and visitors alike to enjoy nature, just a short walk away from shopping, restaurants, hotels, the San Juan River, hot springs and Town Hall, and be a place from which to view the San Juan mountain range — a place to picnic and learn about our area with educational panoramic exhibit panels. It will provide a destination for tourists and community members alike to hike to, where they can reflect and enjoy nature.
Showing community spirit, other locals have joined in with in-kind donations. Architectural design of the structure was donated by Jess Wilton. Timbers selected by town parks and recreation personnel and harvested from tree thinning on Reservoir Hill are being milled and 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.
But funds are still needed to complete the project in the spring and that is where Crowdfunding comes in. Via 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.
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 sun shades for parks, skate park improvements, fish stocking, library books 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 new tool all citizens can use to improve the community.