Help with Shooting Range
Well, everybody, it's hammer time! I am calling on all my shooting friends and friends of friends, relatives of friends, next-door neighbors, cousins of your neighbor's friends: If you agree that it is time I need you in the Borough Assembly Meeting at 350 Dahlia St in Palmer on Tuesday, January 20, at 6:00 pm. There will be a vote on whether the Borough will sell our youth clay target sports organization 80 acres for the purpose of developing a youth clay target sports practice facility! It is IMPERATIVE that we pack that Assembly room with several hundred people - the more the merrier! - willing to say "I agree with this sale." Friends and neighbors, I don't ask for much, but I need you now more than ever before. I need you to stand up and do this for the youth of the Mat-Su, and the rest of the state, for that matter. Feel free to contact your Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly person and let them know that you want them to vote in favor of this sale! However, it is most important that you are there in person. If you have ANY questions please call me at 355-0962! PLEASE!
What is the 'long term' goal and where is this land located? I would like to see more information before deciding either way.
Yup, what bearcat said. I'm all in favor of promoting youth shooting but need more info.
Hopefully you've posted a similar announcement on Facebook, with a little more information?
My phone number is posted in my comment. Because space is limited in a forum such as this, it would be best if you called me. Our program is in its 11th year, with 17 teams and over 300 kids across the state. We have been working on this project for several months. We have 5 teams in Mat-Su Valley, 4 of which are high school teams with a new high school team to be added in the Fall, which will make 6 teams in Mat-Su. They need a place to practice that is affordable. Our hope is to build just such a facility.
I know one of the coaches for the Wasilla High School team.
This is a great project and will greatly benefit youth and the future of the shooting sports.
OK, I have been on the side lines on this subject and after reading the article in the local paper, I do have some concerns. My concerns are not about the sport or not supporting the youth shooting sports. I will also admit that I have NOT contacted the OP on this. In the article(the Frontiersman) it stated that it cost the youth shooters about $300 a year to shoot at Grouse Ridge. While that might seems to be a large sum, what will the projected cost be to operate this purposed range? Who will be paying to operate this range and for the construction that will be required? What about maintenance cost, cost for power, water and everything else that will be needed? What about insurance to cover injuries and or damage? This there a plan to apply to be a non-profit group or a private group? I also have an issue with the Borough letting the property go at 'below value' unless there is something that is not being passed on to the public. Also by giving this property to this group, it will in effect take away any possible tax income to the Borough, that we need. If this property was to be sold to be developed and taxed, that would be more value to the Borough.
Lets see where this goes!
Originally Posted by reddogiii
I'm not a resident of the Mat-Su Borough so the assembly won't care about my opinion. But as an interested observer I'm curious about a couple of things.
Originally Posted by reddogiii
Why do you need 80 acres? Seems like a substantial amount of land for the proposed purpose.
Why should the borough sell land to your organization at below market value? Wouldn't it be better for the citizens of the borough for the assembly to put it on the market to the highest bidder and get it on the tax roles?
There are many worthy organizations that could use some land, why should your particular organization get special treatment? How do you define the cost/benefit for borough citizens of the activities you propose vs. activities of other worthy organizations?
In looking at the Federal 990 report required of non-profits it appears your organization has been wildly successful in obtaining gifts, grants, contributions and membership fees: going from $25,124 in 2011 to $411,211 in $2012 to 639,703 in 2013.
Similarly your organization has had amazing success in receipts from admissions, merchandise sold, services performed or facilities furnished: going from $-0- in 2011 to $63,394 in 2012 to $269,662 in 2013.
Total receipts went from $25,124 in 2011 to $474,605 in 2012 to $845,371 in 2013. That's impressive!
Equally impressive is the $401,361 in net assets you've accumulated after expenses in three short years. You must be prodigiously effective non-profit fundraisers and skinflint managers to amass that kind of money!
With that type of fundraising I'm surprised at the relatively small number of kids you are serving. At the $350 per athlete per year costs at Grouse Ridge it would only take $105,000 for ALL 300 participants. Easily within your budget since as of the end of 2013 you had sufficient assets on hand to fund nearly 3 years of program participation for all 300 kids at Grouse Ridge. And that would be a much shorter drive from Wasilla High by about 2/3.
Or you could fund more than 5 years of shooting for all 300 kids at Birchwood with your 2013 end of year assets (at $250 per participant per year) and the drive would only be 3 miles further than the location of the land you want to buy.
In terms of public benefit from sale of Borough land to your program what are the outcomes you are hoping to achieve? Do you expect to reduce juvenile crime? Improve graduation rates? Or ??? What public benefit will be achieved that justifies a gift of some or all of the value of the 80 acres of public land to your organization?
Obviously you are good at convincing contributors and sponsors of the value of the program, it seems to me more than likely you could raise the money to pay full market value.
Or, why not just ask for a low cost lease? Why do you need to own the land? Wouldn't it be simpler and better for your organization and the Borough if you leased the land, developed the facilities you want to see, and place the facilities in Borough ownership for as long as the program is viable?
You are not a perpetual trust or foundation. You are apparently great fundraisers but you won't live forever. What if the next slate of officers are not that good at finding contributors? You don't have the capital to maintain the program and facilities you hope to develop.
What happens to the land if your organization goes bankrupt and dissolves, as many non-profits do? Would you agree to a sale clause that returned the land to Borough ownership?
I apologize if my questions offend you in any way. Perhaps I'm just jaded. I've seen lots of folks raise private money and receive grants of public money for "youth programs" that either served very few kids, achieved little in terms of public benefit, or ended up benefiting mostly the adults involved - either because the money really funded adult activities or the adults were receiving high salaries or contract fees to run or "assist" the organization. So I always like to know a bit more detail when someone asks for some public asset for a private purpose.