Crite Park Restoration Group Readying to Launch Fundraising Campaign

The restoration of Crite Park is about to take another step – this time a financial one.

The Friends group last week put new signage in the existing park with QR codes to explain their efforts and show the new design of the proposed park, and also to begin campaigning for more funds to fully implement the project.

“We are getting ready to launch a fundraising campaign,” said President Cheryl Dickinson. “We’ve been doing a soft opening now with donors that have come forward because they are so pleased with our efforts.”

The Crite Park reconstruction effort is about to launch a fundraising effort to keep the momentum moving on rebuilding the park in tribute to South End painter Alan Rohan Crite. Here, last week, Ryan Gosser and Betsy Hall celebrate the placement of new signage that tells those passing by just what’s happening.

The biggest piece of the fundraising campaign will be a matching donation for $10,000 that has already been pledged by one donor. Dickinson said the press will be on to raise $10,000 so that the match can be achieved.

“If we raise $10,000, he will match it with another $10,000,” said Dickinson. “Unlike Crowdsourcing where you pay a fee and if you don’t make the time limit, they money goes back, this gentleman said to take the time and when we get the $10,000, he’ll reciprocate. He couldn’t be more pleased with what’s happening.”

Before things kick off in earnest, the Friends are looking to start a Fundraising Committee that will talk about strategy, and not directly solicit funds.

Once that is in place, they will begin the community fundraising aspect, while the Friends also pursue other grant opportunities. That will secure what is needed for Phases 1 and 2.

One change to the plan is that the City would like Phases 1 and 2 completed at the same time, which would make the park usable right off the bat.

“The City does not want to see the project broken down into the five phases we had,” she said. “They want us to do the first two phases together so the park will then become usable. That would include all the tangibles like the hardscape. It won’t have all the extras, but it will be usable.”

One of the initial strategies for Phases 3, 4, and 5 is to potentially use community fundraising for bits and pieces of those amenities. Dickinson part of the fundraising strategy coming up could be to fund specific things like plantings or benches.

Dickinson said the project is very unique in that it has moved so fast under private effort. Because it is owned by Public Works and not Parks and Recreation, the group has had to spend its own money from fundraising and grants to do the engineering and design for the new park. To date, that has come to $22,500.

“We really moved fast and got the work done,” said Dickinson. “When we are done, this Committee will have created a community park with the City’s guidance. That’s pretty cool.

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