Thank You to all of our amazing committee members!
Tom and Lynn Hoeft
Terry and Janet Kaldhusdal
Chris & Frank Both
Gerry and Cindy Caballero
Mary Ann Gedymin
Build a Park Timeline of Events
August 11th, 2020
Press release from Mayor Magnus
The developer of the proposed Waterview Condominiums and the City of Oconomowoc reached an agreement that would resolve a lawsuit related to the development of the proposed condo project at 517 and 525 N. Lake Road. The Chuck and Pat Herro family generously offered to purchase and donate the property at 525 N. Lake Road for a park. The developer offered to sell the adjacent 517 N. Lake Road property to the city if the community could raise the money by January 31, 2021. If purchased, the two sites, owned by the City would be deeded in perpetuity as a public park.
First meeting of a few community members interested in taking on the challenge. Discussed steps to getting started and agreed to meet every week until the needed money is raised.
The team started by developing a name for group, designing a logo, signs, and brochures. The team worked on a process for accepting donations. The donations needed to go through a non-profit to make donations tax deductible but there was not enough time to start a non-profit organization. After several unfruitful requests to other non-profits to process donations, negotiations with the City of Oconomowoc resulted in the City agreeing to accept donations. A process for sending receipts, thank you letters, and tracking donors was implemented by the team.
New members came to the team with expertise in website and social media design. A website, a Facebook page, Instagram and a GoFundMe page were set up. The infrastructure needed to accept donations was ready by the end of August. Plans for marketing and reaching donors were made. Community organizations were contacted. 300 yard signs, thousands of brochures, and large banners for city sites were printed. Grants were researched but we found our timeline was too short for most grants.
Sept 3, 2020 Press Release from Build a Park
The news of the Build A Park team being formed to raise community awareness of the project and to raise the money needed by 1-31-21 was on the front page of the Oconomowoc Enterprise. The story of the property, the goal, and the different ways to donate were detailed. The first week resulted in donations of $24,260.
Signs begin going up all over Oconomowoc, and the team began attending the weekly Farmer’s Market.
A progress graphic is developed for use by the media and 4 large signs are made for placement around the city.
Brochures were mailed to prospective donors and hundreds were left on doors in the community. Signs were placed in local business windows. Hundreds of emails were sent to friends and acquaintances. Two large banners were displayed weekly at different city locations every week.
High School students volunteered to help the fundraising effort and were trained in presenting the project to potential donors at the Farmer’s Market and other venues.
By Sept 16th, a total $326,634 was raised.
A concept rendering was created to help the community envision what the park could look like. This rendering was used for meetings with potential donors, community meetings and the Farmer’s Market. Outdoor signs of the rendering were placed on the boardwalk and the 525 property.
10/22 - Articles about the City of Oconomowoc taking ownership of the 525 N. Lake Road Property and the fundraiser passing $500,000 are in the newspapers.
10/29 - Articles showing the concept rendering for the park are published in the newspapers.
At this time, we had over 5,000 unique visitors to our Website and 7,000 Facebook views. Both sites and the Instagram page are updated often with new videos and information coming on-line. A listing of local businesses that donated was added to the website.
Letters to the Editor are encouraged. A marketing piece, “Building a Park is Good for Business”, was developed for DOBA members.
A local artist donates prints of the Dam on Lake Road to be used for fundraising. That is followed in the next months by other local artists donating prints, scenic cards, wood carvings, and handmade pot holders for use.
Paws for a Cause Pet Parade on Halloween had 47 entries and created a lot of awareness and donations.
By October 28th,a total $534,279 was raised.
January 2021 - The Final Stretch!
Cards for birthdays, Christmas, gifts, and in memory of someone are posted on the website to encourage donations.
11-5 First letter to the Editor about the project was published.
11-25 Another letter to the Editor is published.
11-12 Article about $100,000 challenge to community by Ashippun family.
Mod Pizza and Quiznos agreed to give a portion of their proceeds for one designated day to the fundraiser.
One team member made many Build a Park face masks to be used by team members and to be given to Common Council members and city staff.
Another $100,000 is donated as a community challenge.
Build a Park is represented at the Okauchee Christmas market, raising awareness and donations.
An artist started to create pet portraits and donate the money to BAP. Be Green Pro offered the team a donation for every container of Snow Melt sold until the campaign is over.
November 24th, a total of $738,518 was raised.
Update was given to the Common Council about progress and the donations raised going over $1,000,000. There is another donor match for $100,000.
12-1 – Articles about the team raising over $1,000,000 to tourn an Oconomowoc property into a legacy park instead of condos
12 - Letter to Editor from Dick and Karen Bertrand about their donation and challenge.
A Park People Pop-Up Event is held downtown before and after the Oconomowoc Christmas parade, raising awareness and donations.
With the goal of purchasing the property within our reach we started talking about next steps. A Friends of Oconomowoc Parks and Trails was discussed as a way to do fundraising to improve Oconomowoc’s green spaces. Some donors indicated that they would like to donate to park development after the property was purchased. Two other teams were discussed, one to get community input about how people envision using the future park, and another to work on the park design. The team members were exhilarated about the possibility of soon reaching our goal and the impact of this project on the community. They indicated the group they might like to work on.
Another doner match for $50,000 was started.
December 23th, a total of $1,226,781
1-7 – Article with progress graphic announcement of how close we were to reaching our goal.
1-19 – A large front page article about reaching the goal of raising $1,350,000! Many thanks given to the community, businesses, organizations and the fundraising team members. A Letter to the Editor thanking team members.
The park is named the John and Lavinia Rockwell Park by the Herro family.
The park design team begins their work.
A community input form was put on all media. A virtual community input meeting with the City was held on Jan. 26.