New foundation seeks to improve Bancroft Park

       A new nonprofit has formed with the goal of improving Old Colorado City.

Members of the initial board of directors for the Old Colorado City Foundation stand by the wrought-iron fence at the southeast corner of Bancroft Park. From left are John Olson, Dave Van Ness, Heather Joffe, Robin Roberts, Jocelyne Sansing, Heather Darrigan, Sharon Swint, Julie Fabrizio and Welling Clark.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Called the Old Colorado City Foundation, its board of directors consists of Westside business and civic leaders.
       The group's initial project will be to upgrade Old Town's Bancroft Park, according to Dave Van Ness, who also serves as executive director of the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group. Plans are still being detailed, but will probably include fixing up the restrooms and making them more available to visitors while also discouraging vagrants.
       “We'll be like the friends of the park,” Van Ness said. “We want to work with the city and see what they can contribute.”
       When he was hired by OCCA about a year and a half ago, Van Ness said he was directed to look for grants to improve Old Colorado City. So he formed the foundation as a charitable nonprofit that is eligible to receive grants under the 501(c)3 category of the federal tax law.
       Members of the OCCA board can be on the foundation board, but not make up its majority, according to the bylaws. The initial foundation president is Julie Fabrizio, an Old Colorado City business owner who is also the OCCA president.
       A fundraiser for the park will be the OCCA's three-hour Taste of Old Colorado City, scheduled April 28. Van Ness estimated that about 20 restaurants will be participating (advance tickets are $25). Proceeds will go the foundation, Van Ness said, with a hoped-for net of at least $15,000.
       Seen as a “long-term” entity, the foundation will be looking for sponsors and other projects, he added. “As far as I'm concerned, there is no limit.”
       Other members of the initial board are Van Ness, vice president (non-voting); Heather Joffe, treasurer; Heather Darrigan, secretary; and Welling Clark, Sharon Swint, Robin Roberts, Jocelyne Sansing and John Olson. Joffe and Darrigan are business owners. Clark is a business owner and president of the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN). Swint is president of the Old Colorado City Historical Society. Roberts is a local banker, Sansing is manager of the Old Colorado City Library and Olson is a landscape architect.
       An existing group that maintains public infrastructure is the Old Colorado City Security & Maintenance District, which is supported by a special-district tax. However, its formalized boundaries do not take in Bancroft Park.
       For more information, call Van Ness at 440-0234.

Westside Pioneer article