City officials: $3.3M needed to meet Yakima plaza fundraising deadline

$3.3M needed to meet Yakima plaza fundraising deadline

YAKIMA, Wash. -- The downtown plaza fundraising committee has about five months left to meet its $9 million year-end deadline.

Progress was slow earlier this year, but city officials said they have seen a turnaround in the last few weeks and are confident they will reach their goal.

Yakima city council voiced concerns about the plaza fundraising efforts back in April after less than $30,000 came in over several months.

But now three months later, the plaza committee has made more headway, raising about $370,000.

“They're putting in a lot of time and energy and effort to get out there and work hard on this,” said Yakima Economic Development Director Sean Hawkins.

Funding pledges have now reached $5.7 million. However, that is still short $3.3 million needed to reach the $9 million goal for construction to start on the project.

The plaza will replace the old one and clear a parking lot between 2nd and 3rd streets with an open design plan of trees, benches, and walkways along a fountain.

Hawkins said committee volunteers have been working tirelessly and have attained 122 donors.

“The project is 72 percent at its goal, so definitely making some progress but it's a lot of hard work for a group of volunteers,” said Hawkins.

About 12 people comprise the plaza fundraising committee as they go the extra mile to secure more pledges quickly from a list of nearly 200 potential donors.

“There's been quite a bit of movement here in the last six weeks or so, doing a lot of parties and get-togethers,” said Hawkins.

He said even more fundraising events are on the horizon. But raising approximately $660,000 every month would be necessary to reach the financial deadline.

It’s a daunting task that Hawkins said hasn't phased the committee, with a private donor recently paying for a fundraising consultant.

”We're very optimistic to get to that finish line,” said Hawkins.

And if they don't? Well, Hawkins said that isn't an option.

The city will also kick in nearly $2 million toward the project that totals $10.8 million. City leaders said they are still waiting to hear back on funding from grants and foundations that would add about $400,000.

The council will review the plaza's fundraising status again in October.

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