By Victoria Sheridan
The Friends of Pound Ridge collected more than $16,000 for its Pondhouse project at its first-ever fundraising event Jan. 26, and continues to raise money for the effort.
For the event, the FoPR organized a pre-Super Bowl tailgate-themed party at Conant Hall. Tickets ranged from $100 – $125, and the FoPR member Melinda Velez said in an interview that roughly 130 people attended.
“I really couldn’t have been happier with how things went and how the town came out for the event,” she said. The party included live music from musicians, singer John Praino, and the band Ask Your Mom, catering from The Market, dancing, games and guests dressed up to represent their favorite football teams. Many guests showed up in Fox Lane jerseys, Ms. Velez said.
Eight residents launched Friends of Pound Ridge in late December, re-activating an organization for the same name that was established for charitable purposes in the 1990s, but eventually ceased to operate. At the outset, the group said it would focus on a single project at a time so donors know exactly where their contributions are going. For their current project, FoPR leaders set their sights on the pondhouse in the Town Park. With funds it is raising, the group hopes to update the structure so that it can serve as a year-round gathering and activity space for all visitors, including summer campers and winter ice skaters.
Improvements to the site might include a fire pit on the inside, and a patio with a seating area on the outside.
Given the success of the first event, Ms. Velez said the FoPR might look into continuing the talgate party as a yearly tradition for each future fundraising project. She points out that other charitable groups in the community host seasonal annual events, such the Fox Lane Sports Boosters Club’s yearly Halloween Ball. The tailgate could be FoPR’s signature annual fundraiser, she said.
FoPR members said earlier that potential projects wouldn’t just be limited to physical improvements, but might also include programming or scholarships, based on the needs and input from community members.
In the more immediate future, Ms. Velez said that FoPR will seek to secure approval from the necessary
town boards and commissions for its rendering of the project. It also will determine the exact price of
the project (the group currently has a ballpark figure in mind). Then group members can calculate the
total necessary financing and strategize to attain those funds.
Initial estimates for the project are roughly $25,000, which could vary depending on the features that are included or removed from the construction plans.
Ms. Velez said FoPR continues to offer memorial bricks, which can be engraved and will be used in constructing the patio section of the house. The bricks cost $100 each. Residents can make donations of their choosing at the website friendsofpoundridge.org.
The group may consider planning another gathering in the coming months, likely smaller in scale than the tailgate party. Ms. Velez noted that FoPR would welcome input from the community about other fundraising campaigns or events.
“We’re open to ideas for fundraisers,” she said. “And then once this is done, we’ll be open to ideas of what [residents] would want to see in the town.