Community needs to help get the lights turned on at Canyon View Ball Park
By Myrna Trauntvein
Nephi residents will need to make some fund contributions if any foundations add monetary aid in a project to have ballpark lights at the Canyon View Park.
Randy McKnight, city administrator, reviewed efforts to obtain funding for the lights.
"We have tried to find grant funding for the project," said McKnight. "We have a good story to tell."
The good story, he said, was that the community had already put a lot of funding into building the park and its construction had proven to be a priority for residents.
Four foundations had responded to requests for funding in a positive way and a couple of those had indicated that they were willing to participate in providing funding but they wanted the community to participate also.
"They do not want the money for the project to come from the city budget," said McKnight. "They want it to come from a non-governmental source."
The Miller Family Foundation and the Eccles Foundation both are willing to participate but both have attached strings to their donations.
"They want the local community to contribute," said McKnight.
In addition, Union Pacific had given a verbal response to the city's request.
Three other groups have been contacted and applications have been submitted to them but none of them have responded.
"I think the dream of lights there is still alive," he said.
Donations from the community were far short of the needed amount to entice the foundations to participate. To date, he said, there was $100 which had come across the counter at city hall and another $200 which had come through the online donation site.
The Miller Foundation/The Utah Jazz have offered $20,000 but that is dependent on residents being able to raise, at the very minimum, $5,000.
"The budget for the lights is over $100,000," said McKnight.
The townspeople would need to donate approximately half of that amount.
Donations are being accepted at Canyonviewlights.weebly.com, which contains a link to an online donation site. Donations will continue to be accepted at city hall.
The foundations which have been contacted for support, he said, like to see that the community values the project and, therefore, private donations are highly regarded.
Council members wondered if a ball game to raise funds might be a good idea. Perhaps, for example, the city council could go up against the city staff and tickets could be sold to view the game.
"The Miller Foundation has agreed to donate some Jazz tickets which can be used as prizes or could be sold at auction," said McKnight.
Donald Ball, resident, suggested that business owners might be approached about paying for advertising for their business on the sideboards of the field as is done at major league ball parks.
Wade Gee, said that he thought a banner on the fence which would be paid for by a business owner might be a good idea.
If an individual would agree to donate $10 to the fund, said Blair Painter, clerk, perhaps their utility bill might be reduced by $10. He thought that would be a good incentive.
However, that may be construed as a contribution from the city which would be against the rules.
"The funds cannot come out of the city," said McKnight, "The funds have to be non-governmental."
Even if all of the foundations were to respond positively to contributing funds to the project, the lights could not be installed unless the residents of the city contribute some of the funds for the lights. If they do not, the city will not receive any funding from those sources.
Lisa Brough, council member, wondered, when residents pay their bill, if they could donate one dollar or whether it would be construed as the city participating.
The 2010 census had 5,389 living in Nephi. If each of those persons contributed $1, the fundraising would be well on the way to success.
"We may have to approach these foundations and find out if some of these ideas would be considered a private non-governmental donation or not," McKnight said.