Fundraising challenge met for White Acres Open Space

       Barely six weeks after announcing hopes of matching a $25,000 challenge grant for White Acres Open Space, the Friends of Red Rock Canyon announced success this week.

The latest and greatest treeometer reading (with White Acres in the background) shows the White Acres fundraising side full (at $75,000) but the Section 16 side empty. That's because fundraising to help pay for it cannot begin until the State Land Board agrees to a sales price.
Courtesy of Don Ellis

       In all, since about mid-April, the group has raised $75,000 to help the city with its $100,000 first-year payment on the the 45-acre property next to Red Rock Canyon Open Space.
       The total cost will be $1 million, with the remainder being paid over the ensuing three years from the city's .1 percent open space sales tax revenues.
       Other than the challenge grant (from an anonymous benefactor), “about 80 percent of the money to reach the challenge came from individual and business contributions,” said Friends member Don Ellis. “This really does show that people were willing to 'put their money where their mouth is' in terms of supporting White Acres. About 275 people contributed, with contributions anywhere from $1 to several thousand!”
       The fundraising started after City Council approved the White Acres purchase plan April 14. In the months that followed, the volunteer Friends organization erected “treeometer”signs at different open space locations to let people see how well the money was coming in.
       The treeometers show two trees. The White Acres side is now full, but the other tree is empty. That's the one representing 640-acre Section 16. At the council vote in April, the Palmer Land Trust agreed to fundraise $640,000 to help the city buy it as open space from the State Land Board. That effort was to start as soon as White Acres made it to $75,000.
       However, city negotiations with the State Land Board broke down last month because the state would not agree to sell it for the $2.8 million at which it had recently been appraised. The two sides have been talking since then, but no change in the situation has been announced.
       The city currently leases Section 16 from the state for recreational users. The land touches both Red Rock and White Acres.

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