By Emily Stifler Explorebigsky.com Managing Editor
There’s good news on the Big Sky Community Park front.
The local Rotary club has decided to put all of its fundraising efforts this year toward building an artificial climbing boulder or two in the new park, which is in the Big Sky Meadow.
The club is a group of approximately 20 local of business owners and professionals that give to local and international causes because “it’s the right thing to do,” says Big Sky Rotary member Dale Palmer.
In the past, the club has helped support local projects like the Meadow Village bus shelter, the annual Christmas tree giving project, emergency call boxes in Gallatin Canyon, Eagle Mount and blood drives. Internationally, it’s given to water wells in Honduras and Zambia, disaster relief projects for the 2004 tsunami and the Haiti earthquake, and educational programs for women in Egypt.
Big Sky’s mountain town atmosphere is a perfect spot for the boulders, said Koy Hoover, a Rotary club member and Big Sky resident.
Because it’s part of the international Rotary organization, Big Sky’s club can apply for grants for its projects. Some of these grants match funds raised, dollar-for-dollar, and some even better that, Palmer said.
The club is hoping its annual Gold Auction Fundraiser, on Jan. 28, could raise as much as $20,000. With the matching funds, they could turn that into $40,000, which is enough to fund a boulder.
“Anytime there’s matching funds, it tends to make projects happen,” Hoover said.
At the annual Gold Auction Fundraiser, the Rotary raffles off $2,500 worth of gold. Everyone who buys a ticket gets put in the drawing. Out of 100 tickets (each is for two people), somebody’s going to go home with the gold. In the past, these events have raised up to $60,000.
Jessie Neal, the BSCC’s executive director, expressed gratitude that the Rotary is helping finish the park.
“We are truly lucky to have an organization like the Rotary right here in town,” she said, adding that the boulders will be a resource for the entire community.
“Adults will find them challenging and easily accessible, and children will have fun learning climbing skills in a safe environment.”
The park, which is run by the Big Sky Community Corp., also received state funding this year, through a tourism infrastructure investment program grant. That money could go toward landscaping, the skate park, a concession stand or the climbing boulders.
To donate goods or services for the Rotary Gold Auction, to be held Jan. 28 at Buck’s T-4, contact Rotary Club President Christine MacDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org.