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Posted In: Mountain Biking

Fundraising for regional MTB facility begins in earnest

@richmondoutside
February 10, 2014 11:49am

It’s trail update Monday here at RichmondOutside.com, and as usual there’s a lot going on that area mountain bikers, trail runners and other trail lovers should be aware of.

Jim Beamer (on left holding check) was among those at Pocahontas SP for the unveiling of Dominion's gift. Credit: Phil Riggan

Jim Beamer (on left holding check) was among those at Pocahontas SP for the unveiling of Dominion’s gift. Credit: Phil Riggan

You probably remember back in April 2013 when the state through its budgeting process and the Dominion Foundation each put $50,000 on the table to support the expanding of the trail system in Pocahontas State Park. The gifts helped jumpstart a larger effort to designate the Richmond region (the downtown trails combined with the proposed Pocahontas singletrack) as an official International Mountain Bicycling Association “Ride Center.”

The effort was considered a legacy project of the world cycling championships that will arrive here in September 2015, something that will benefit the community — many communities, actually — long after the road races and tourists are gone.

At the time, estimates for the Pocahontas project — all the new trail as well as new trailhead facilities — ran close to $1.5 million. That’s a lot of money, and $100,000 is just a start, obviously. So last week I gave Dominion’s Jim Beamer a call to see how the fundraising was going. Beamer is a lobbyist for the energy behemoth and an avid cyclist. He, along with Richmond MORE’s Greg Rollins and Jason Eige, with Gov. McDonnell’s office, were the driving forces behind this project from the beginning.

Beamer said “things are going real well” overall with regards to the project. The original $100,000, he said, has allowed IMBA to send its trail builders out to Pocahontas to flag and lay out the future trails.

In terms of fundraising, he added, “things are going far better than I ever thought they would. We’re teeing up to hopefully keep the cash coming in.

Riders hit the trails at Pocahontas State Park. Credit: Phil Riggan

Riders hit the trails at Pocahontas State Park. Credit: Phil Riggan

“Before you go out and start putting the ask on people for this kind of a big donation, you have to put all the pieces and parts together for what we’re selling. I think we’re at that point now that we can tell the story of what we’re going to achieve, how we’re going to do it, the timeline we need the cash to come in. We can go out and tell a compelling story of how this is going to be a legacy project of Richmond 2015.”

Beamer said they’ve already got a $10,000 matching grant from the Virginia Tourism Corporation. And in the coming days and weeks, he, former State Parks Director Joe Elton and a couple of others will begin meeting with local foundations, charitable organizations and private donors to pitch the project.

“Just building trail will cost $750,000,” Beamer said. “So, we have about another $600,000 to go. But that hurdle is not that big.”

Look for announcements here at RichmondOutside.com as the donations come in for the project.

NEXT WEEK: The local mountain bike community comes together on Feb. 22 together to do a little ride center fundraising of its own at Trailicious 2.


About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?


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