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DL Mountain on track to open in 2014

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news Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

The Detroit Mountain Recreation Area is on track and on schedule to open in a little over a year, as planned.

Supporters from the community and beyond have so far donated $750,000 of the $1 million goal during the public fundraising campaign.

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Mark Fritz, the board member in charge of fundraising for the organization, said the public fund-raising campaign launched in July is going well.

“We’re thrilled,” he said. “We’ve raised over three quarters of a million dollars since we came public with this. We’re now at $5.5 million — this is the largest fundraiser out of Detroit Lakes that we’re aware of.”

Donations have come in from all over the country, usually from people who grew up skiing Detroit Mountain and want young people today to have the same opportunity.

“We’re moving dirt and we’re moving forward on a number of things that are time-sensitive on this project,” Fritz added. “So we’ll be open next fall.”

In the initial phase of the project, the DMRA, Inc. board of directors began asking local and regional businesses and individuals for support.

During this silent campaign, pledges of $4.8 million towards a $5.75 million dollar fundraising goal indicated strong support for the project

The board members and many volunteers will continue fundraising as they strive to meet the $1 million mark.

An upcoming campaign will focus on potential donors in the Fargo-Moorhead area, where a number of business owners and others have fond memories of Detroit Mountain.

“It’s not just a Detroit Lakes project,” Fritz said. “There are so many people (in surrounding communities) that came over as kids and now can go over and mountain bike and use the facility.”

Being debt-free is a big part of the strategy, and that will require more funding, Fritz said.

Organizers hope to tap into donations from across the region, and perhaps into Legacy Amendment sales tax funding for parks and trails, which has been restructured and is now considered friendlier to big regional projects like Detroit Mountain, Fritz said.

“Our goal is to build a world-class attraction that brings people here,” Fritz said. “We still need to fundraise a little bit so we can become debt-free — that speaks to the long-term viability of the project. We still have a ways to go, but we’re confident we’ll get there on fundraising.”

Shelly Stowman, another member of the Detroit Mountain Recreation Area Board, said local businesses have also been helping out with fundraising.

She pointed to three in particular that are donating money to the Detroit Mountain project based on their sales.

At the DL Bike Shop, owner Dave Langworthy is donating funds with every bike he sells.

At Modern Living, owner Bryan Schoenberger is donating funds for every house he builds.

And at the Trophy House, owners Jolene and Eric Tulius are also donating funds based on sales.

Campaign organizers have been getting positive feedback from across the spectrum. Fritz said he just talked to a couple in their 80s who very much want the mountain available to the younger people in their family.

“This community, when they see something they want to do, they get together and say, ‘Why can’t we do this?’ And that’s cool. I don’t think it’s that way everywhere,” Fritz said.

The Detroit Mountain was a seasonal downhill ski resort for decades prior to closing in 2002.

The new area will not only host downhill skiing, but will offer snowboarding with terrain parks, cross country skiing, and tubing.

In the summer months, hiking and over 10 miles of purpose built mountain bike trails will be a highlight. The park will feature a new lodge, new lift systems, a new irrigation system for snowmaking, new trails, and improved roads and parking.

As a non-profit operation, the new recreation area will benefit from tax-free status, city support, and new infrastructure.

The Detroit Mountain Recreation Area will be open for skiing in the winter of 2014-2015 and biking in the summer of 2015.

Donations to the project are tax deductible and can be made through the website, www.detroitmountain.com, or the Bring Back Detroit Mountain page on Facebook.

Links can also be found through Detroit Lakes Newspapers at www.dl-online.com and the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce at www.visitdetroitlakes.com.

Follow @DLNewspapers on Twitter

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