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    Mission accomplished: Goal reached for Hampline crowd-funding

    Thomas Bailey Jr.

    Illustration depicts how the Hampline — named for the Binghamton neighborhood it crosses — might look along Broad Avenue. The two-way track will be protected from traffic as it connects the Shelby Farms Greenline to Overton Park.

    More than 500 contributors by Friday met the crowd-sourcing goal to raise $75,000 for the Hampline, showing that the state-of-the-art bike/pedestrian route through Binghamton has widespread as well as institutional support.
    The accomplishment also means that the two-mile project should start on schedule and be completed before winter sets in late next year, said a project leader, Broad Avenue business owner Pat Brown.
    “It’s a momentous day,” she said.
    Donations made this week were matched by the Hyde Family Foundation.
    Crowd-sourcing for $75,000 completes the $3.7 million budgeted to build the facility. Another $800,000 will be sought later from foundations to enhance the project with sidewalk and gateway improvements, bringing the total to $4.5 million.
    The Hampline will connect the western end of the Shelby Farms Greenline with the east side of Overton Park. The cycle track won’t just be painted along Tillman and Broad Avenue, but barriers built onto the streets will physically protect cyclists from motor vehicles.
    Project leaders used the New York-based nonprofit IOBY.com to raise the $75,000. IOBY stands for In Our Back Yard, a name meant to connote community spirit and to be a foil to the notion of NIMBY (not in my back yard).
    Memphis’s $75,000 project is the largest in IOBY’s four-year history, executive director Erin Barnes said Friday. The organization has facilitated about 300 crowd-sourcing fund-raisers around the nation, most of which were neighborhood projects of $5,000 to $6,000.
    “One of the things that impresses me the most, so many of the hundreds of donations have been small and modest gifts,” Barnes said of the Hampline. “I think it’s moving to see hundreds of small donations pooled together to reach this goal.’’
    The Hampline has drawn $1.2 million in private funding from foundations and nonprofits and $2.2 million in grants from City of Memphis.
    But the $75,000 in small, individual contributions is important, Barnes said.
    “I think it shows how much demand there is for the Hampline in Memphis,” she said. “ I think Memphians are saying this is something we’ve invested in and made sure it’s an important part of our neighborhood.”
    As of noon Friday, $77,820 had been raised. That amount includes $2,285 to cover credit card processing expenses.
    Any extra money raised will be used to enhance the project, Brown said.
    An extra $3,500 would enable the purchase of a Bike Fixation Station. That’s a repair stand built to withstand the elements and potential misuse within the urban landscape, she said. Its installation would include a secured air pump.
    The Memphis Hightailers cycling club started a related campaign on Oct. 4 to fund a granite bench along the route that will honor Hightailers founder Charles Finney, Brown said.
    The fund-raising site is at ioby.org/project/hampline.
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