Civicside.com, a local crowdfunding website and community group, is fielding ideas to improve Lafayette’s public spaces, for ecosystem preservation and for other worthwhile projects through the 24-Hour Citizen Project.
Scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. July 22 at Warehouse 535 at 535 Garfield St. and wrap up at 8 p.m. the next day, the event offers an opportunity to anyone with an idea for a community project to seek funding and expert help.
From the time they sign up, community teams can receive feedback from a stable a lawyers, designers and other experts who work with Civicside, which raises money for selected projects through internet crowdfunding — think Kickstarter, GoFundMe and Indiegogo.
Butch Roussel, Civicside’s founder, said the idea for the 24-Hour Citizen Project came from experience.
Civicside projects have raised roughly $50,000 since the site came online two years ago, helping fund the giant “Lafayette” sculpture in Parc Sans Souci downtown, a downtown “parklet” that took shape in a parking space on Jefferson Street and planting the seed for the revitalization of Four Corners through an event that transformed the area with temporary bike lanes, landscaping, lane reductions and pop-up businesses.
Through those experiences, Roussel said, he and others with Civicside learned that starting a community project is an often esoteric practice for residents.
“Pursuing these projects is difficult for citizens. What if we brought everyone together at the same place at the same time to make stuff happen?” he asked.
Kate Durio, director of marketing and events for Downtown Lafayette Unlimited and the first expert to register, said the event is an opportunity for residents to break into city redevelopment projects, as well as to organize a collaborative approach.
“No project stands alone,” she said. “Are there other things that already exist or may in the future that would tie into this project? How can we use projects with that sense of community in mind and make sure that we aren’t just doing one project and it never matches or goes with anything else?”
The deadline to register for the event — whether as a team, expert or decision maker — is July 17.
The event kicks off with a July 22 launch party, which is open to the public.
Civicside will give teams one minute to pitch their ideas to the crowd and introduce team members.
After the party, teams will scatter to their homes, offices or event locations to work on their projects.
Throughout the night, experts will be available to provide feedback.
A corps of public officials will be available to advise teams whose projects may require permission to proceed.
The fate of the projects is in the hands of backers, investors or business professionals looking to fund projects during the final pitch event at 6 p.m. July 23, and audience members attending the event.
Audience members are required to pay a $20 cover charge. Each attendee will get a $10 project dollar card, which they can use to fund their favorite projects. If they’d like, they can purchase more project dollars.
If a project is partially funded, the team will have 24 days to raise the remaining funds.
“In Lafayette, we have a lot of non-profits that are competing for the same project and have similar missions,” Durio said. “By working together … you’ll likely be able to achieve a lot more and help each other out.”