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Lacking money for small projects, Raleigh turns to crowdfunding

Posted December 19, 2013

— When there's a need in the community, such as fixing a road or a sewer line, Raleigh uses tax money to pay for it.

But tax revenue goes only so far, and a lot of non-essential projects don't make the cut. So, city officials are now tapping Raleigh residents in a different way to complete them.

Raleigh has partnered with the City of Oaks Foundation on a crowdfunding experiment to raise $14,300 in donations through Dec. 31 to install decorative bicycle racks downtown and benches along the Neuse River Greenway.

"The great thing about the crowdfunding is that, if you have someone who feels strongly about this, the red tape you have to go through is all gone," said Kevin Brice, director of the City of Oaks Foundation.

The campaign is being conducted on a website called neighbor.ly, and several other cities and organizations also are using the site to raise money for parks, playground equipment and transportation projects.

"It's a way the citizens can help the city fund some good projects," said Jennifer Baldwin, Raleigh's bike and pedestrian coordinator.

Bike rack, bicycle rack Raleigh residents can help pay for bike racks, trail benches

Raleigh has $20,000 in its budget to install U-shaped bike racks, but with an extra $6,500 in donations, officials said they can install "cooler" racks with distinctive and artistic shapes.

With another $7,800, Raleigh hopes to install 15 benches along the 28-mile greenway trail.

In an era of tighter budgets, Brice said crowdfunding these kinds of projects will become more popular in the future.

"They're being received very actively, and so I think it's something you'll see happen more and more frequently," he said.

Raleigh is giving donors gifts for participating in the effort, from key chains and tickets for rides at Pullen Park for donations of $10 to $25 to plaques engraved with donors’ names $500 contributions. All donations are tax-deductible.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • rroadrunner99 Dec 20, 2013

    Let the bike riders pay for "cooler" bike racks. The greenway users that want to sit on the dangerous greenway can pay for the benches. Most taxpayers already give enough to Raleigh now.

  • chivegas Dec 20, 2013

    That's exactly what we need! "Cooler" bike racks!

  • dwntwnboy2 Dec 20, 2013

    "I would be happy to contribute, but I also want to know the process that choosing the supplier went through and who finally decided "this is it"- well, then find out who is in charge and ask them.

  • rachel Dec 20, 2013

    choosing to contribute or not, tamcapwral, is great-but did you get a voice in the design of the bike stand? Also, did you get a voice in where to shop for these? Who offers the best prices? Probably not- most of us are much better, frugal shoppers then the government- I would be happy to contribute, but I also want to know the process that choosing the supplier went through and who finally decided "this is it"

  • WralCensorsAreBias Dec 19, 2013

    No thanks, we're tapped out.

  • Justic4All Dec 19, 2013

    And I imagine this fund raising effort also nets $.50 on every dollar? That NC bike locker thingy looks cool but in the same space with a conventional shaped rack more bikes could be parked

  • Smart Alex Dec 19, 2013

    I like the idea, but I don't like my tax dollars beig spent on "gifts" for voluntary donations on vanity projects that people choose to support. That doesn't make sense to me.

  • whatelseisnew Dec 19, 2013

    While I think they should use the money to purchase more racks instead of "COOLER" racks, I like this approach. Unlike TAXES which are taken at gunpoint, people can choose to chip in some money or not. That is much better than just constantly jacking up taxes.

  • tamcapwral Dec 19, 2013

    View quoted thread

    I somewhat agree with you. So does City of Raleigh. Therefore, you have a choice - you can contribute or not. It's much better choice then the alternative - extra taxation.

  • A person Dec 19, 2013

    Certainly there are more worthy projects that need attention than benches on a small part of a sidewalk, or decorative bike racks. These seem like projects of vanity