The New Mexico state office of The Trust for Public Land (TPL) has received a $50,000 grant from outdoor recreation gear and apparel retailer Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) to support construction of a rainwater harvesting system for the Santa Fe Railyard Park and Plaza. The grant is being applied as the first major business gift in TPL’s â€œClose the Gapâ€ campaign to raise the remaining $1.2 million of the $13.5 million public space project.
TPL, a national nonprofit land conservation organization, is leading the effort to plan, design, and raise funds to build the 12-acre Railyard Park and Plaza on behalf of the City of Santa Fe. Located in the heart of the revitalized Santa Fe Railyard, this vibrant stretch of parklands, central plaza and walk-bike trails will link open spaces throughout the 50-acre site with museums, retail shops and nearby residential areas. To date, TPL and its volunteers have raised $12.3 million, which includes REI’s grant, for the project. The project is due for completion this August with a public grand opening in September.
â€œREI’s generous grant provides a great boost for this last phase of our capital campaign,â€ says TPL New Mexico State Director Jenny Parks. â€œWe are especially pleased to have their support for the rainwater harvesting system, which has the capacity to provide a significant portion of the park’s irrigation needs. We hope REI’s generosity will inspire others to give now to this sustainable project.â€
Bob Ward, manager for REI’s Santa Fe Railyard store, scheduled to open in summer 2008, adds: â€œREI is proud to support The Trust for Public Land in this exciting project that not only meets a functional need, but serves as an innovative educational feature that highlights sustainable design and the rich history of Santa Fe. We look forward to opening our store this summer and partnering with the community in the stewardship of open spaces.â€
The Railyard Park and Plaza’s rainwater harvesting system will harvest water from the roofs of new and historic Railyard buildings to provide irrigation for the park’s shade trees, rose garden and other naturally landscaped areas. This feature will also recharge the local aquifer and serve as a regional demonstration project for water-wise, sustainable parklands. Other park highlights include a children’s climbing wall, outdoor performance area, walking and biking trails, and a discovery playground where children can build the skills and confidence that challenging outdoor play provides.
REI’s Santa Fe store will be the national retail co-op’s second in the state after opening its Albuquerque store in 1989. The Santa Fe store will employ between 50 and 60 full- and part-time staff, and will include a community room for classes, presentations and events for use by non-profits, residents, employees and others.
As part of its commitment to increase participation in outdoor recreation and preserve natural spaces for community enjoyment, REI works with and provides grants to non-profit partners and coordinates volunteer service projects. In addition to the TPL grant, REI has provided more than $65,000 to New Mexico nonprofits in the past two years, including the Open Space Alliance, Forest Guardians, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, Bike Albuquerque, Talking Talons Youth Leadership, Sandia Search Dogs, Robert F. Nicodemus Memorial Wilderness Project, New Mexico Xtreme Sports Association Inc., and Children and Nature Network. Santa Fe recipients include the Bicycle Coalition of New Mexico and the Santa Fe Mountain Center, Inc. Additionally, in the past two years Albuquerque employees have coordinated 719 volunteers, which collectively resulted in 3,120 volunteer stewardship hours.
For more information about how to give to the Railyard Park and Plaza, call Laurel Savino at 505-988-5922, ext. 114, or email Laurel.Savino@tpl.org.
ABOUT TRUST FOR PUBLIC LAND (TPL)
The Trust for Public Land is a national non-profit land conservation organization that works across the American landscape from wilderness to urban areas to protect land for people to enjoy. In 1995, the organization helped the City of Santa Fe purchase the historic 50-acre Santa Fe Railyard property for $21 million. Community members eventually requested that 12 acres of the Railyard be designated for public parklands.
Under its agreement with the City, TPL is charged with planning, design, fundraising and development of the city’s new Railyard park, plaza and walkways. TPL also oversees the railyard Deed of Conservation Easement, which ensures that the Railyard’s public spaces will remain as park land for generations to come.
REI is a national outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. Founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality equipment, REI is committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions.