The Clark County Park District is putting all their money, effort and PR bright ideas into raising money to keep the four Springfield parks and bike trails afloat after having to close them down in November. A fundraiser, a bluegrass concert and a 5-K run, and a grand reopening organized with the help of Springfield firm Wilt Public Relations are what the parks board hopes will do the trick to convince voters to approve their funds request and keep district parks open.
Wilt Public Relations has been paid 750 US dollars to organize and promote the grand reopening of the four parks scheduled for April 1st. While it might sound like an extremely low amount, we should also consider they had already been given a contract worth 9,350 US dollars to for a public survey and rebranding effort. That’s a significant amount from a board that had to close down all parks last autumn because voters rejected a request for 153,000 dollars!
“There was no understanding of what we are and what we do,” said park district Director Jim Campbell.
While Wit PR will handle the launch the fundraiser will be the task of another consultant the board has hired, consultant Ken Hershberger, who will be paid 1,800 US dollars for his fund-raising efforts.
Hershberger announced Monday plans for a bluegrass festival at George Rogers Clark Park on May 7. The event will be called “Pickin’ for the Parks” and will feature well-known local acts, as well as food and beer sales. Hershberger expects 1,000 attendees at $20 a ticket.
What does the district aim to achieve with this fund-raising effort? Well, they have a 25,000 US dollars target for this year and they have already raised about 5,000. If Herhsberger expectations are met, they will reach their goal instantly. The trick is the amount they target is only enough to cover their investment in outreach and to also result in a boosted public profile. They will then ask for money from voters again, and hopefully not have to close down the parks next year!
The 5-k run aims to turn into a twice a year event and along with other volunteer efforts to help raise even more money. Hopefully they get to raise enough funds not to depend so much on the voters’ decision. That seems like a smarter target!