Lacking money for small projects, Raleigh turns to crowdfunding
Posted December 19, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.
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.