Finding funding to purchase more than 5,500 acres of land — which would connect Laramie to the Medicine Bow National Forest — for $14 million is the job of the members of the county’s new funding oversight committee’s new members.
The committee members were selected to represent entities such as the Wyoming State House and Senate, the University of Wyoming and other organizations who benefit from the land sale. Dan Furphy, Kermit Brown, Tony Hoch, Chris Rothfuss and Marilyn Kite will serve on the Funding Oversight Committee to help the county find $14 million to purchase more than 5,500 acres of land.
Albany County Commissioner Heber Richardson said they were offered a position on the committee because of their understandings of several aspects of local and state government.
“The No. 1 qualification for the people on the funding oversight committee is … their understanding of policy, politics, funding sources and where to go get money,” Richardson said.
Albany County Commission Chairman Tim Chesnut said once the committee finds all of its members they would start making a plan to find a way to purchase the land.
“What we’ll do is get everyone together and we will just get … on trouble-shooting what our plan of attack is going to be,” Chesnut said. “I think when we get all those minds in the same room, then we’ll start formulating a plan where we move forward.”
He said the funding committee would ask people and organizations in the community who have raised large amounts of money in the past and use it as a guide for what the committee should do.
“We are going to be pulling a lot of minds together that have done this in the past, like the Nature Conservancy — I don’t want to single anybody out — but like the Elk Foundation,” Chesnut said. “(Getting advice from) people who have done large fundraising projects and getting them to give us some guidance for where they have been or what a good plan of attack would be headed toward.”
Even with looking to other sources for developing a plan for raising the money, factors such as the economy and other unforeseen problems could make it hard for the committee to raise enough money, he said.
“There will be road blocks — I don’t think we can tell what those will be until we hit them,” Chesnut said. “With the economy being what it is, it’s not maybe the best time to be seeking funding for such a large project but there is no good time so you’ve got to move forward with what you got.”