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Aurora hires fundraisers to plan for next phases of RiverEdge Park

Updated: September 20, 2013 6:21AM

AURORA — Aldermen approved the city’s hiring of a professional fundraising team to develop a fundraising plan for the next phases of downtown’s RiverEdge Park.

The city will pay Chicago-based Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt LLC $48,000 to develop a feasibility report and campaign plan for RiverEdge Park master plan fundraising efforts. Those services will include developing a case for giving, identifying prospective donors, conducting up to 40 feasibility interviews and providing recommendations for an initial campaign plan, according to a city memo.

Now that the first phase of the park, the music garden and John C. Dunham Pavilion are complete, the city is directing attention toward raising funds for future phases, and wants to continue to leverage private dollars.

“It is anticipated that future phases will most likely need to leverage private funding to a greater extent in order to facilitate their construction,” Bill Wiet, the city’s chief development officer, wrote in a city memo.

Wiet said that three fundraising firms were considered for the city contract. He said that Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt, a midsize firm with public and private sector experience, “was a good fit for Aurora and RiverEdge Park.”

The firm focuses on capital campaigns ranging from $1 million to $500 million, and it counts Openlands Chicago, Preservation Foundation of the Lake County Forest Preserve and the Lincoln Park Zoo among its clients.

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