Fundraising kicking off for plaza

Adam Larck
mtn@timestoday.com
The concept art of the front of the Morton downtown plaza shows what drivers on Main Street should see once the plaza is completed.

The first steps toward a downtown plaza are now in progress.

The Morton Economic Development Council plans for fundraising were approved Feb. 17 at the Morton Village Board meeting.

Now, the plan to raise at least $800,000 in private donations kicks off at the first of March. However, Executive Director and CEO Jennifer Daly said the goal is to raise $1 million.

“We’ll start by meeting with businesses and families that are interested in larger contributions, but we will have forms out there on the website immediately for anyone that wants to contribute,” Daly said.

She said the committee just recently came to the consensus on what items can be purchased for donations and how many of each item will be available.

Donations range from $100 paver blocks that will line the veteran’s memorial, to a $500,000 donation that will let someone dedicate the columns at the plaza entrance.

The Morton Community Foundation will be collecting all funds.

“There will be the ability for people to pledge,” Daly said. “Pledges need to be $1,000 or more, and it can be paid over multiple years.”

Any donations less than $1,000 are asked to be paid immediately.

Daly said that the hope is to reach 80 percent of the goal by the end of the summer, with pavers still being sold at Pumpkin Festival time.

The status of donations will be updated on the EDC, village and MCF websites. In addition, a progress bar will be at the site of the plaza to show current fundraising goals.

In addition, some events are being planned for the summer to help raise additional funds and to give the community a chance to donate as well.

Once the $800,000 minimum is reached, the EDC will inform the village to let the board start the next steps.

“What we would do would immediately advise the engineers to put together bid documents,” Mayor Ron Rainson said.

If the goal is reached by Pumpkin Festival time in September, Rainson said the engineering work would be done in November, with bids going out and approved in February.

After that, he said construction could soon start.

If that timeframe held true, the plaza could be complete by the 2015 Pumpkin Festival.

Daly said that if the plaza donations end up not surpassing the $800,000 needed, an alternative is already in place.

“If, for some reason, we don’t reach our campaign goal and a plaza isn’t constructed … I think it’s quite unlikely,” she said. “But if that is the case, any money raised will be used for an alternative downtown improvement project.”

• Small memorial pavers — $100

• Medium memorial pavers — $225

• Large memorial pavers — $500

• Donor recognition wall bronze — $1,000

• Benches — $5,000

• Dog water station — $5,000

• Bicycle station — $5,000

• Tables — $10,000

• Veteran memorial bench — $25,000

• Little kids play area — $50,000

• Big kids play area — $50,000

• Water feature — $100,000

• Plaza entryway columns — $500,000

Donation types