JACKSON, WY — An hour before the annual 4th of July parade started Wednesday morning, the Safe the Block campaign was still short of their $4 million goal.
By the time the Jackson Hole Land Trust float reached the Town Square, they had made it. The news came through as a surprise announcement over the loudspeaker.
“That was really fun,” said Land Trust President Laurie Andrews. “I feel like we’ve kind of gone over the hump and can see the finish line from here.”
The funds came in the form of 1,200 individual gifts from the community, plus a $1 million challenge grant. The Save the Block campaign has $2.5 million left to raise by August 5 to purchase the green space and easements on E. Broadway and preserve the land and the buildings that live there (currently home to Cafe Gevevieve, Persephone Bakery, and Healthy Being Juicery). Andrews said she’s hoping for another challenge grant to get them to the finish line. But even without it, she’s impressed by and grateful for the support she’s seen.
“The community really showed up in a way I’ve never seen,” she said. “There’s such united enthusiasm around this project.”
Of course, a fire at Cafe Genevieve last week served as a sobering reminder of what the community has to lose. “It struck a chord,” Andrews said, and perhaps spurred a “renewed sense of urgency about how important this is to us.” Luckily, most of the building was saved thanks to a swift response from Fire/EMS, but the kitchen suffered some serious smoke and heat damage.
Community members are encouraged to engage with the Block by using the green space all summer. With monthly Summer Concert Series hosted on the Block, the Jackson Hole Land Trust plans to add programming for yoga, lawn game nights, fly-fishing casting sessions, art projects, dance performances and more to the calendar. Large oversized letters spelling “Land Trust” currently sit on the green space, inviting the community to doodle, write, and share what the space means to each visitor.
Visit SaveTheBlock.org to learn more about the campaign.
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