Arch group launches a crowd funding appeal
Plan to rebuild a Gateway Arch
SPRINGFIELD: Backers of a group that wants to bring back the “Gateway Arch” launched a Kickstarter appeal Thursday night to get the project off the ground. The newly formed “Friends of the Springfield Arch” is asking for $2,500 to complete a 5-foot wide scale model by August 15th that would be displayed at various summer festivals and civic sites to familiarize the public with their plans.
Kickstarter is an online fundraising site that has developed financial support for everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Recently the Bijou Theater in Eugene used the site to raise funds for a new digital projector.
Plans to bring back the “Gateway Arch” began to simmer in 2010. The idea, proposed by Walterville native Tom Lincoln, was based upon a 1920’s era project that put the city “on the map” when the Springfield Ladies Civic Club mounted a successful fundraising drive that resulted in the construction of the first Gateway Arch, near Glenwood. That structure was unfortunately lost to floodwaters only seven years later, but a look at historic photos of that arch still communicates the feeling of community pride it generated, as well as creating a desire to see such an icon in person.
“Our plan to resurrect the Arch honors the past, and it also looks to the future,” according to Lincoln. “We've added some bells and whistles, including a functioning water feature that showcases the world famous McKenzie River Drift Boat, which was designed and built both on the river and in Springfield and is now the official symbol of the city of Springfield.”
At this point in time, the Friends of the Springfield Arch has been recognized by the Oregon Secretary of State as a public benefit non-profit corporation. The next step is to file with the Internal Revenue Service for designation as a 501(c) 3 non-profit. Already, several key area organizations, ranging from the Springfield Chamber of Commerce to the McKenzie Watershed Council, have endorsed the concept.
Originally, the proposal called for construction of an arch over Hwy. 126 near Springfield’s eastern city limit. Subsequent discussions with the Oregon Dept. of Transportation have resulted in a modification of that plan which calls for placing the arch in an area adjacent to the highway that would be accessed by a feeder road utilizing deceleration/turn lanes off of Hwy. 126.
That sort of project would cost a lot more than the $2,500 scale model, Lincoln admits. A bigger fund drive is part of their future plans. The Friends group describes their strategy as building upon the strong cross marketing that has long been a part of the relationships between the city of Springfield and the McKenzie River community. A promotional brochure notes that, “Over a 150-year period, the natural resources of the McKenzie River helped develop the mills that spawned Springfield’s reputation as an industrial area. At the same time, generations of hard workers found relaxation in recreational opportunities upstream that supported the development of the world-renowned McKenzie River drift boat, as well as the Pacific Northwest’s guiding industry.”
Pledges to build the model range from $10 to $100 or more, and at most levels, donors will receive a reward for their contributions. People interested in finding out more about Kickstarter and the Arch model project can go to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/100075737/springfield-gateway-arch-project.
McKenzie River Reflections