$500K Pledge for Santa Fe Railyard Park + Plaza (NM)

Santa Fe, N.M., 7/7/2006: Messengers of Healing Winds, a Santa Fe-based foundation, announced a $500,000 leadership gift to The Trust for Public Land’s (TPL) $11.5 million Come Together capital campaign to build the Santa Fe Railyard Park and Plaza. One of the Foundation’s priorities is preserving land and caring for our natural heritage.

The gift came as a surprise announcement during a July 2 community celebration hosted by TPL to launch the final phase of its capital campaign to fund the 12-acre park, plaza and walk-bike trails being developed in the historic Santa Fe Railyard by TPL, in partnership with the City of Santa Fe. The event drew Santa Feans from throughout the city who came to hear about the project and enjoy food, live music and children’s activities.

Following speeches by U.S. Representative Tom Udall, Mayor David Coss and other project supporters, Messengers of Healing Winds pledged the gift as a challenge to the community to help TPL raise the additional funds needed to reach its goal by December 2006 and complete the park and plaza project by fall 2007. Construction on the park is scheduled to get under way in November.

Describing the Railyard Park and Plaza as “a potential jewel for this city,” Messengers of Healing Winds Executive Director Steve Rasmussen said, “The Messengers of Healing Winds Foundation is pleased that the Railyard Park and Plaza construction is planning to commence. It is our hopes that this gift will contribute to its successful completion and attract other donors to this most worthy community project. We believe there is tremendous potential for this project and that it will become an important part of the lives of all Santa Feans, their families and visitors to the city.”

TPL New Mexico State Director Jenny Parks praised the foundation for its commitment to the community and its support of public parklands. She noted that the foundation previously made significant contributions to the international design competition for the park and plaza and to TPL’s conservation work throughout New Mexico. In addition to New Mexico, Messengers of Healing Winds Foundation has funded preservation projects in South Dakota and Northwest Iowa.

“The Trust for Public Land thanks the Messengers of Healing Winds Foundation for its extreme generosity and its belief that these beautiful public spaces will be an asset for Santa Fe,” Parks said. “We will work with the City of Santa Fe to ensure that the new Railyard Park and Plaza are preserved and beautified for today’s residents and for future generations.”

The Foundation’s challenge to other donors to support the park and plaza campaign immediately resulted in two surprise gifts of $10,000 each. The first was announced by First Community Bank President Angie Baca on the bank’s behalf as a challenge to other businesses. Billie Blair, executive director of the Santa Fe Community Foundation, announced the second gift on behalf of an anonymous private donor. Blair further encouraged other community members to give.

All combined, the three surprise gifts bring the total raised to date by The Trust for Public Land to $8.2 million in public and private funding, leaving an additional $3.3 million to be raised. Of that, the Trust for Public Land has committed $250,000 to develop a stewardship program that will ensure that the park is properly maintained.

Previous funding for the Railyard Park and Plaza includes $2.6 million in federal transportation funds for bikeways and walkways secured by U.S. Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman and U.S. Representative Tom Udall. In addition, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson recently appropriated $1 million in state capital outlay funds for park construction. The New Mexico State Legislature, City of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County also have made substantial financial contributions. Meanwhile, the railyard-based Santa Fe Southern Railway provided the project’s first major private contribution of $2.7 million.

The Railyard Park and Plaza project is an integral part of an exciting revitalization currently under way throughout the 50-acre railyard site. When finished, the redevelopment will include a mix of live-work, commercial and nonprofit entities, including the Santa Fe Farmers Market, El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe, Warehouse 21 Teen Arts Center and SITE Santa Fe. The nonprofit Santa Fe Railyard Community Corporation is the developer and property manager for the railyard businesses and nonprofit organizations.

For more information about the Santa Fe Railyard Park and Plaza call (505) 988-5922 or visit www.railyardpark.org

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization with a mission to conserve land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come.