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Park District Foundation announces $1.6 million challenge matching gift
Posted By Brandon Reid On November 19, 2010 @ 9:22 am In Happening Now | No Comments
From press release
Nov. 15, the Rockford Park District Foundation announced it had received a challenge matching gift by an anonymous donor for $1.6 million to help fund the restoration of the Sinnissippi Lagoon, the outdoor gardens, walkways, waterfalls, sculptures and plantings. This outdoor portion of the Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens (NCG) construction project is estimated to cost $3.2 million to complete.
The conservatory is scheduled to open in late fall 2011, and the target date for completion of the outdoor projects is spring 2012. The matching funds campaign will conclude in May 2011.
The Park District is also applying for $1.4 million in grant funds from the State of Illinois’ new PARC grant program (Park and Recreational Facility Construction) to complete the lagoon, and hopes to qualify for up to 75 percent of the cost. The lagoon restoration would complete that section of the Sinnissippi project selected by the district as the centennial celebration project.
“We have a broad range of opportunities for major donors, as well as more modestly-priced donor opportunities,” said Kent Mallquist, Nicholas Conservatory Steering Committee co-chairman and Rockford Park District Foundation member. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our community to be part of a legacy project that will be enjoyed by thousands of people each year and by future generations to come.”
The foundation also announced it has already raised $100,000 of the local community match needed toward the $1.6 million. One of the major contributors toward the community match, Harris Bank, has pledged both a contribution to support the NCG Orchid Collection along with operational sponsorships of various NCG events.
Jim Keeling, newly-elected president of the Rockford Park District Foundation, said: “In these days of tight economic resources, it is so important for donors, entities and partners to work together cooperatively to make good things continue to happen in our community. We want to see a shared, successful future for the Rockford area, and we need to continue to leverage limited public resources with private donations and other sources.”
Andrea Ward, Harris Bank regional president, added: “The conservancy is a legacy that generations will enjoy and treasure. Harris is honored to contribute to such an important community landmark, and we commend the Park District for all the work they have done making this project a reality.”
Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens
Located along the shores of the Rock River, the Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens will provide a place where the public can learn about the world of plants and how they play an important role in our lives. It will provide a year-round exhibition of beautiful tropical trees, plants and flowers.
The Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens will be open to the public and will be available for special events and meetings. In addition, educational seminars and programs will be presented about a variety of topics focused on the environment, beautification and recycling. The conservancy will also be made available to local and regional schools for student field trips. The site will be recognized as LEED certified (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design)—the recognized standard for measuring building sustainability. When completed, this facility will be the third-largest conservatory in Illinois.
The conservatory is named after the Nicholas family, who in 2006 announced their donation of $2,150,000 toward the conservatory project in honor of their parents, William and Ruby Nicholas. The gift was donated by Bill, Dan and Ab Nicholas, who envisioned the Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens as a gathering place for our community and a catalyst for future riverfront development. More than 1,100 donors and other funding sources have contributed to the Nicholas Conservatory project, generating more than $9.7 million.
Project scope highlights
The Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens Project will include construction of the conservatory and site improvements. Visit rockfordparkdistrict.org for additional information about the conservatory.
Phase I project cost: $9,700,000
Future development: $3,210,000
Total project cost: $12,910,000
• Entire building—22,000 square feet (approximate)
• The conservatory—10,800 square feet; 52 feet tall
Project timeline: Open to the public in late 2011
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