In spite of the recession and the complete closing of one of our major employers in town, as well as the temporary shut down of about 5 very large employers within 40 miles, there are several major fund raising efforts going on in my small community. One is nearly ready to get underway with the next phase: the building of a new community center, in the park, with a good kitchen. The community has really gotten behind this project and all the fund raising events. About $150,ooo has been raised so far, certainly enough to get the building started this summer. I just hope that the community can continue to support the maintenance of this building in the future, because lack of maintenance was just one problem at the current park building.
Part of our community, that is outside of the city limits, close as the crow flies, but not close by road, has somewhat poor coverage from fire departments, despite very high taxes. Private individuals have banded together to raise money and buy two fire rigs that will be closer to their homes. The costs are enormous and they have met their goals; the rigs are in place.
I've been involved an effort to keep our school swimming pool open. The school board has seriously considered closing the pool to save money. On paper, the cost to run the pool, water, heat, lights, pumps, chemicals, etc. is enormous. We question the figures, but there is no good way to measure the heat and lights because they aren't monitored separately from the building.
The school board has decided to keep the pool open if a community group is willing to do fund raising to pay half of the costs. Since I'm attending the meetings of the group, and the size of the interested parties has diminished, I now officially on the board of directors for the purposes of applying for tax exempt status. Whew.....like I need more to think about.
We have a lot of competition for extra money. It is easy to be pessimistic about all of this, given the recession, but we have to keep our focus on quality of life issues for the future. Small towns are somewhat fragil. When the school, churches, and businesses decrease, quality of life issues are evident, and people start thinking of moving away or not moving here in the first place. Even the tourists won't come here if the community diminishes. But we can only look to the near term in our fund raising and chose to be positive. Maybe we'll provide the community with some fun events in the process.