Badger Mtn. group falls short in bid to buy additional land
A seven-month campaign to raise enough money to buy 150 acres of ridgetop on Little Badger Mountain and preserve it apparently isn’t going to succeed.
At least not this year.
After receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from more than 500 donors since the campaign launched in May, Friends of Badger Mountain admitted this week that they can’t make their goal, and donors are welcome to ask for their money back.
The nonprofit group, which has a goal of preserving ridgetops in the Tri-Cities, was trying to raise $1 million to use in negotiating a price for 150 acres atop Little Badger Mountain. The land is owned by Milo Bauder, a developer from Richland.
“For a small group we’ve done pretty well, but we basically are far apart,” said Debbie Berkowitz, the group’s vice president.
The group collected about $200,000 by mid-summer. Berkowitz said they were not announcing how much they had in hand now nor how much Bauder was asking, to “respect his request that it not be made public.”
An e-mail sent this week to all of the donors in the preservation effort thanked them for moral and financial support, but noted that goal was unattainable unless “an angel” steps forward with a large donation.
“We had offered what we felt was an amount that we could comfortably raise. (Bauder) responded that our offer was too low, but (he would consider another offer),” the e-mail said.
“After much soul searching, the board has regretfully concluded that the project is not currently viable,” said Sharon Grant, president of the group, in the e-mail to the donors.
Bauder told the Herald on Wednesday that he did not want to talk about the issue because he considers the negotiations ongoing.
Grant’s e-mail said the Friends’ board is considering using the money to buy other land on the south side of Badger Mountain to preserve ridges and have more trails.
But Grant said donors who gave specifically for acquiring property on Little Badger Mountain can ask to have their donations returned before the end of the 2008 tax year. Refund requests should be made in writing to Friends of Badger Mountain, 1701 Fanning Road, Pasco, WA 99301.
For more information about the Friends of Badger Mountain and the project to buy land on Little Badger Mountain, go to www.friendsofbadger.org.