A campaign to preserve a historic section of downtown Jackson is gaining momentum. Led by the Jackson Hole Land Trust, the “Save the Block” initiative is raising money to purchase a large parcel just off the Town Square that includes several buildings that date back to the early 1900s.
Launched earlier this year, the campaign seeks to raise approximately $8 million by August 4. As of mid-June, it had achieved nearly $2.5 million, which represented more than 2,200 donations.
A coalition of community partners launched the drive after a proposal to construct a 90,000 square foot hotel was announced late last year.
“It’s clear that this block resonates with folks more than we could have ever imagined,” says Jason Snyder, board chair of the Land Trust. “This block is filled with memories of joy and laughter from anyone that steps onto it.”
“We hope that many more members of the community will join us in reaching our goal this summer,” adds Laurie Andrews, president of the Land Trust. “We are unbelievably grateful for each and every gift, regardless of size, and know that without the generosity of our donors, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
The proposed hotel development involved the sale of the property. Before the transaction was finalized, an anonymous family put the property under contract. Rather than develop the space, the family intends to put it into conservation. The fundraising campaign is intended to recoup some of the costs (the sale price was undisclosed). The deal is contingent upon the local community’s ability to raise $8 million.
Under the new plan, three historic cabins that currently house local businesses would be put into easement, protecting the structures in perpetuity. Individual philanthropic investors are needed to purchase and maintain each of the buildings.
This spring, the Save the Block campaign succeeded in a “Million Dollar May” challenge, which sought to collect 1,000 individual donations to secure a $1 million grant from an anonymous donor.
Following the success of the May campaign, an additional $1 million gift was pledged this month with a double call to action. The first component asks the community for 1,000 new gifts for the bounty of a new $1 million match by July 4. The second component calls upon the community for a dollar-to-dollar match of the $1 million.
This week marked the kick-off a free summer concert series, which celebrates the initiative and aims to raise money for local non-profits—in addition to the campaign’s cause.