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Crowdfunding for a Pagosa project

SUN Columnist

Crowdfunding is a relatively new finance opportunity that has been on the internet for over a year now, offered through services such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Gofundme.

Don’t know what crowdfunding is?

Crowdfunding is a way for individuals, groups, communities or companies to raise money for a start-up or expansion project. Each crowdfunding service has different rules, but the basic idea is the same: Open up the project for anyone to assist with financing a project, anywhere.

This type of public financing opportunity has opened the doors for young entrepreneurs trying to get a business started, for a documentary or CD to be produced, or a community to fund a particular project. People can now support a passion such as the arts, start-up businesses or community projects in places they once lived, where they would like to live or in cases where they like a project and it fulfills their passion.

Often, as a thank you for a donation, the sponsored project will offer small gifts such as a complimentary CD, T-shirt, cap or other cool schwag. However, most services require that all of the funds are raised in a designated period of time and, if not, that none of the funds become available for the project, with funds raised returned to the donator.

This is the standard for Pagosa’s proposed project.

Funding a particular project is what the Friends of Reservoir Hill is intent on completing with Pagosa’s first community, crowdfunding effort. The project this organization would like to complete is the build-out of an observation tower on Reservoir Hill. This small structure will allow people to have a view of the surrounding mountains and town while offering another location for people to enjoy the beauty of Pagosa’s playground right in the center of town. A number of involved citizens have already committed time and talent. The Levine Family Trust has shown community spirit by offering to match community donations. Other locals have also joined in with in-kind donations: The architectural design of the structure was donated by Jess Wilton. Local craftsman David Schanzenbaker will create the timber frame for the structure, for construction by summer 2014. 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.

The goal of the group is to raise a total of $5,400 for the project. At this time, they have raised $4,200. The beauty of this type of fund-raising is that if you donate at a certain level, you will receive some benefits. With the new Citizinvestor crowdfunding site (Archuleta County is an Enhanced Enterprise Zone), your tax deductable donation of $300 or more will make you eligible for a Rural Enterprise Zone state tax credit of 25 percent. In addition, you will receive some cool schwag based on your level of donation — anything from a thank you and a cup of coffee, to hot springs passes, to tickets to either the Folk ‘n Bluegrass or Four Corners Folk Festival.

With the end of the year coming up and people looking for investment and tax-break opportunities, one opportunity may be to invest in a community project. Checks for the project may be made out to the Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation, which is a 501(c)3 organization and a Colorado State Enterprise Zone Project. To find out more about the project or to see your thank you gift based on your donation level, go to www.friendsofreservoirhill.org.

Don’t forget that the Friends of Reservoir Hill will also hold a tree lighting at 5 p.m. at the Spa Trailhead on Saturday, Dec. 21. Bring the family out for a reading of “The Night Before Christmas,” cookies and hot drinks, a visit with Santa and, of course, the lighting of several trees on the hill.

Chamber directors

We will announce the slate of candidates in next week’s issue of The SUN in the Chamber column. We are excited about the diversity and skills of the nominees.

Voting for the candidates will start on Jan. 6. You will be able to vote online, at the Chamber or at the annual Chamber celebration on Jan.25. Members are only allowed to cast one ballot per business. If you are voting online and you submit more than one ballot, all ballots will be deleted. If you own more than one business, then you will be able to cast a ballot for however many businesses that you have registered with the Chamber. Stay tuned for next week’s column to find out about the slate of candidates.

Community awards

I am excited to report we are already receiving nominations for the annual community awards for Citizen, Volunteer, Non-profit and Small Business of the Year. These awards and the SOS Green Business Leadership Award will be handed out at the Chamber celebration on Jan. 25. “Denim & Diamonds” is this year’s theme, reinforcing the Chamber’s traits reflected in this tag line — value, flexibility, a staple, durability, bright or “brilliant” and comfortable. I’m sure you can think of many other attributes.

Tickets go on sale after the first of the year for this festive evening, complete with a delicious dinner, entertainment and, of course, the awards. Individuals looking to nominate a person or organization for one of these awards can download the nomination form from the Chamber’s website at www.pagosaspringschamber.com or stop by the Chamber offices to pick up a form. Nomination forms must be back to the Chamber office by Jan. 13.

Business news

Due to the holiday schedule, this month’s Maximizing Your Membership class will be held Monday, Dec. 16, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Start your New Year off knowing how you can improve your business practices by better utilizing the Chamber membership benefits. Jan Santopietro, membership coordinator, will take you through an informative and interactive learning session. A free lunch is also included in the educational session. Please R.S.V.P. at 264-2360 so enough food may be ordered.

We have several new businesses to welcome to the Chamber this week: JJ’s Chillin’ & Grillin’, Reconnective Healing Center and Gift Shop; and Uplog.org- Pagosa Springs Social Network.

Our renewals this week include The Buck Stops Here, Adobe Abodes, the Pagosa Youth Center, the Springs Theatre Company and the Aspen Springs Metro District. Individual member associates include Joanne Irons and John Ramberg.

As we draw to a close for 2013, we look forward to rolling out some new programs in 2014. We will be issuing a membership survey soon; we hope you will complete and return to us so we can better gauge our services and your needs. Don’t forget to use the Holiday Palooza calendar of Events to help you plan the rest of your December. Additional copies are available at the Chamber/Visitor Center.

This story was posted on December 12, 2013.