Yentile Farm Development Committee Hopes To Raise $1 Million In Donations

WILMINGTON, MA – One million dollars.  That’s how much the Fundraising Subcommittee of the Yentile Farm Development Committee hopes to raise to help defray a sizeable portion of the project’s estimated $4.5 million price tag.

At their inaugural meeting last night, subcommittee members Dan Bamberg, Kevin Caira, Mike Gracia, Ed Loud and Ed Riekstins (Chair) began to develop their fundraising plan, agreeing it needs to be in place by the Annual Town Meeting on May 2.

Over the next two months, the subcommittee intends on creating a 501c3 non-profit organization, tentatively called “Friends of 9 Cross Street Recreational Facility,” which would allow for all donations towards the project be tax-deductible.

The subcommittee is already hard at work developing clear and consistent public messaging.   Members have begun reviewing marketing materials from successful fundraising efforts for similar projects, including the Ipswich River Park in North Reading

An informational website, with an online giving component, is also in the works.

The subcommittee is considering a long list of fundraising tactics, including: approaching individuals; approaching “minor” donor groups; approaching “major” donor groups; small fundraising events; large fundraising events; participatory fundraising (e.g., walk-a-thons); direct mail; telemarketing; online giving campaigns; foundation grants; government grants; corporate grants; and corporate giving programs.

The subcommittee intends on meeting every-other-week, typically on Monday nights, for the foreseeable future.

Assistant Town Manager Kendra Amaral announced that Wilmington’s Planning and Conservation Director Valerie Gingrich intends on applying for grant funding for the Yentile Farm project under the Massachusetts Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) Program.  The deadline is June 18.

Amaral also announced that there will be a Town-Wide Presentation on the latest plans for the proposed recreational complex project on Wednesday, April 15.  (Time & Location is still TBA, but save the date!)  This will give residents an opportunity to get their questions answered and allow them to make more informed decisions at the May 2nd Annual Town Meeting.

At the Town Meeting, there are FOUR proposed articles that affect the proposed recreational complex:

  • Most importantly, the Town is seeking $4.5 million in funds for the actual development of the recreational complex at 9 Cross Street.
  • The Town is also proposing an amendment to the inhabitant bylaws that would give the Yentile Farm Development Committee the authority to determine the names of any fields, play areas and structures on the Yentile Farm property, subject to the approval of the Town Manager.  The authority to name the ENITRE complex would continue to belong with the voters at Town Meeting
  • Resident Brian Stickney, a grandson of Samuel Yentile, has submitted a petitioned article to name the recreational facility, “the Yentile Farm Recreational Facility.”  The Yentile Farm Development Committee is opposed to the article,  however, preferring a more “generic name.”   The Committee would also like the flexibility to sell naming rights for the entire complex, just in case the perfect opportunity arises, recognizing that Town Meeting voters would still need to ultimately approve the name.
  • Resident Kevin MacDonald, a vocal town critic, has submitted a petitioned article to “suspend spending relative to the Yentile Farm on 9 Cross Street.”  MacDonald also has articles hoping to stop the demolition of the old high school building, to repeal the Special Town Meeting vote regarding the Ristuccia Arena, and to enact something called “The Transparency Act of 2015.”

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