Consultant says 80% of funds needed for marina plan have been raised | Daily Democrat

Fundraising for the multimillion-dollar Fort Madison Marina development is in the “quiet phase,” but that is set to transition to a more vocal public phase with an announcement on March 10.

That’s what David Hinke, senior project manager at Convergent Nonprofit Solutions, told Rotarians at their meeting on Tuesday.

His company was hired to complete a feasibility study and help raise approximately $3 million in seed funding for the marina project.

The five-star marina will cost a total of $12.7 million.

Hinkle said $3 million will be provided by a private group that will own and operate the restaurant/bar.

He said that leaves $9.7 million to raise, but around 80% of that has already been pledged. The City of Fort Madison, SIRRC of Fort Madison, GRHS-FMCH Community Health Foundation and FEMA have each committed $1.5 million to the project.

“The 2019 flood happened and there were some things that FEMA couldn’t do and they were able to tie that into this project, so that’s a real plus,” Hinkle said.

Another $400,000 comes from a Community Action and Tourism Grant and Freeport-McMoRan, owner of the Climax Molybdenum Company, kicked off the community fundraising campaign in November with a pledge of $100,000.

Hinkle said that during the feasibility study, he did not limit himself to Fort Madison, but rather approached officials and residents of surrounding communities where he saw the same high level of support for the marina project.

He said as he enters the more public fundraising stage, he and his wife Monica will meet with groups like Rotary, business leaders and community groups to explain the project and solicit contributions.

With 80% of the funds already secured, Hinkle said he is under contract to be in the region until August, if needed, but is optimistic the funds will be raised before then.

Prior to working for Convergent Nonprofit Solutions, Hinkle was President and CEO of the Burlington and West Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce. This is also how he became familiar with the company and its fundraising strategies.

Through this association, Hinkle said he was able to examine cities comparable to Burlington in Iowa and Illinois that were successful in meeting challenges and improving their environment.

“One of the best was Dubuque. They did a better job of meeting their challenges than anyone and there for a while they were in bad shape,” he said. “But what we saw was that when you went to the economic development officer, he had a bunch of three-ring binders behind his desk that were just projects that they had identified.”

He said these were plans that could be implemented if an opportunity arose or a funding mechanism surfaced.

In general, successful cities like Dubuque which also redeveloped its waterfront all had a clear vision of what they wanted, plans for each part of the redevelopment plan, and community support as each part of the plan had been explained in detail.

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