Community center passes halfway point
By MAKAYLA TENDALL
GRAND JUNCTION — Plans for a new Grand Junction Community Center are well underway after a glowing turnout to a recent fundraiser organized by Grand Junction natives.
After recent donations and a fundraising event organized by local siblings, the community center committee has raised $400,000 in grants and donations.
Siblings Heidi and Dustin Fouch organized a 5K Glow Run in Grand Junction on July 26 that produced 200 participants and $5,000 in donations.
“As I sat on my driveway and watched people run past, there were a lot of people I knew and a lot of people that I didn’t know. It was just an absolute broad spectrum. It was absolutely wonderful,” said Larry Pote, a member of the finance and fundraising committees for the new center.
Heidi Fouch said she got the idea after talking with her brother, Dustin, a member of the community center committee, about Lincoln Highway Day and having an event that would raise money for the project.
Heidi said she had participated in many events like the Glow Run, but never organized one.
“We thought it would be fun to bring something that people usually have to go to Des Moines for to Grand Junction,” she said.
“I was shocked,” she said of the turnout, which she expected to be no more than 50 participants.
Participants registered online for $20-$25 and received glow sticks and a neon shirt to wear at dusk.
They also received glowing mugs that allowed them to take advantage of drink specials provided by Ferg’s, the local bar and grill.
Not only did they have an unexpected amount of participants, Heidi said more than 25 residents and visitors clamored to volunteer along the route.
A raffle with donated prizes such as running gear, designer sunglasses and Starbucks coffee mugs afterward raised $100 alone, Heidi said.
Local businesses sponsored the event and provided over $2,000 that helped pay for supplies for the Glow Run.
The leftover sponsor money was then donated to the center.
The band that one sponsor provided also donated money toward the cause, Heidi said.
Heidi used social media to promote the run, something she and her mother — Grand Junction resident Jody Fouch — attributed to the success of the event.
“I posted the event on Facebook, and it was really cool to see people I’m not personally friends with share and repost it,” Heidi said.
Heidi — who now lives in Johnston — said the center has always been important to her.
“My grandma is from Grand Junction and she always used the community center. I’m a farm kid, so getting to go to Grand Junction was always a big deal,” she said. “It was also knowing my nieces were going to be raised in that community and not wanting it to go by the wayside when Greene County expands with all of the development.
“There’s always going to be young families and graduating parties and wedding receptions, and they need a safe place to go.”
The old community center, used for more than a century, is crumbling and full of mold.
“They grew up watching their grandma make bars to bring down to the community center, and they grew up there,” Jody Fouch said of her children. “I want people to know if two kids from Grand Junction can do this, they can, too.”
Pote said he wishes to see even more Grand Junction residents invest in the new center so they can reach their $750,000 goal.
The committee for the new center will hold an auction the evening of Aug. 22 to continue fundraising.
Pote and Diane Wise, head of the committee, will also apply for an annual grant from the Dreyfus Fund to provide $5,000 every year for the next few years if received.