Albany County Courthouse

To more effectively fund a purchase of more than 5,500 acres east of Laramie, the Albany County Commission created additional subcommittees under the Funding Oversight Committee tasked with raising $14 million.

In September the County Commission approved the purchase of more than 5,500 acres of land, east of Laramie, from the city to Medicine Bow National Forest. The commission has until September to raise $14 million to purchase the land.

Albany County Commission Chairman Tim Chesnut said the Funding Oversight Committee for the land purchase and Albany County would work with people experienced with large fundraisers to generate the needed funds. He said to help the committee make decisions, it originally included three subcommittees that focus on economic development, recreation activities and aquifer protection.

“We are going to be pulling a lot of minds together that have done this in the past,” 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.”

Since the funding committee was started, members have attempted to make the process more efficient by refocusing the committees, combining similar committees and separating areas that require more attention, Albany County Commissioner Terri Jones said.

“This is a living process, so there may be adjustments as we go along to be more efficient,” Jones said. “We talked about combining recreation with aquifer protection, wildlife and public access. So those two got combined because they are kind of the same.”

The different subcommittees are designed to provide information about different aspects of the purchase, such as aquifer protection, recreation and economic development, she said.

Jones said recently two subcommittees were added and two committees were combined.

“The new finance committee is a group that is actively finding financing for this project, whether its state funding, federal funding or private funding,” Jones said. “(This responsibility previously belonged to) the economic development committee, so that is why we switched it to the finance committee because rather than working on economic development they are strictly working on funding.”

She said even through the Funding Oversight Committee has been working hard to raise money for the purchase, they not ready to disclose where the funding is coming from yet.

“At this time I do not believe it is appropriate for us to name the names of trusts, foundations, state agencies, grants or private sources of money we are talking to,” Jones said.

“Sometimes if you speak to someone and they are not ready to make a move, you can totally squash the deal by doing that.”

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