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Big fundraising push for Backyard

When plans were first announced for a $2.5 million Backyard addition to the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center back in May, fund-raising organizers hoped to break ground on the project this fall.

To make that happen, however, they will need to raise approximately $198,000 by Sept. 30, according to Steve Daggett, co-chair of the fund-raising committee.

"We would love to break ground this fall if we still can," Daggett added, noting that while some additional fund-raising will be done after Sept. 30, the $198,000 is what is needed to start work on the addition.

But whether that happens this fall, or next spring, will depend on the judgment of the contractor hired to construct the facility, said Larry Buboltz, chair of the DLCCC board of directors (and fund-raising co-chair).

"If we start in October, we should be done by May or June," he said. "If we start in April, we should be done by September.

"One way or the other, we should be done by this time next year," added Buboltz.

"We're getting really close (to reaching the initial fund-raising goal), and we're really excited about that," he said.

"We want to do a final (fund-raising) blitz over the next three weeks," Daggett added. "The urgency is there -- if we want to have a chance to break ground this fall we have to raise that $198,000."

So far, said Daggett, he's been receiving very positive responses from those he has approached to contribute to the project.

"Nobody likes to ask for money, but it's been fun to hear all the great comments people have about the DLCCC," he said. "They love the facility and think this is a great project."

Even his four-year-old daughter is getting excited, Daggett added.

"At least once a week she'll ask me, 'when do we get to start playing in (The Backyard)?'" he said.

"It's going to make a big difference in this community," said Buboltz. "It's going to make a difference for our kids, and it's going to make a difference for our economy."

There really isn't a comparable recreational facility in the lakes area, Buboltz said, so he expects the DLCCC will be drawing visitors from an even larger area once The Backyard is completed.

"There has been a great amount of support from a lot of businesses in this area," he said, adding that there has also been a good amount of grant funding -- including a $33,000 Rural Development Grant from the USDA -- "and we expect some more."

Still, it is the community's support that is most needed to make The Backyard a reality, said Daggett.

"Anybody who is interested in making a donation -- now's the time," Buboltz added.

For more information about The Backyard project, or to make a donation, call the DLCCC at 218-844-4221.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454