NOTE: This story has been updated with comments from Wildomar City Manager Gary Nordquist.
The identity of the anonymous donor to Wildomar parks has surfaced.
It is the City of Wildomar.
In a Sept. 24 Patch story about the parks and the anonymous donor, Tom Pilkington, chair of the Great Day of Service project to rehab Wildomar parks, said a sponsor -- who preferred not to be named -- donated a matching gift of $40,000 to the parks’ cause. Pilkington said that sponsor was continuing to match any gift of $5,000 or greater.
A follow-up press release sent out by the city on Thursday attempted to somewhat clarify the city's involvement. In the release, it was stated, "The City Council at the June 26, 2013 budget public hearing had approved over $40,000 for repairs and restoration needs at the parks. The cost of plants and the hydro-seeding materials alone far exceed these budgeted amounts and contributions will be a major component of this planned day."
Nothing was said about a donation or matching funds in the press release.
In a telephone conversation Friday, Pilkington said it was "poor judgement" on his part to say previously that there was a donor who did not want to be named.
"It is the city," he said Friday when asked to confirm the donor.
Wildomar City Manager Gary Nordquist confirmed the city has set aside $40,000 for the parks' rehab efforts and will match contributions. The city cannot exceed the $40,000 threshold, he said.
A Sept. 4, 2013 staff report from Nordquist to City of Wildomar Parks Subcommittee members Mayor Pro Tem Marsha Swanson and Councilwoman Bridgette Moore recommended that a series of promotional events be implemented for the parks, including a "city match of major contributions."
"If the City matched the cash contributions of $5,000 from donors with a like amount of City purchased parks plants and material this could encourage additional donors to participate," Nordquist's recommendation read.
"The City's level of participation would be funded from the currently approved budget for the park landscape maintenance ($41,200) and miscellaneous repairs ($50,000) and the recommended limit of the City's participation in this match program could be $40,000 total," the recommendation continued.
As a member of the United Methodist Church, Pilkington is spearheading the Oct. 26 Great Day of Service, when, from 7 a.m. to approximately 1 p.m., volunteers will place about 6,000 plants at the three parks.
He said the effort to fundraise and garner volunteers for the parks "comes from the heart" and there was nothing malicious about not naming the donor.
The United Methodist Church, along with the city, residents and local business leaders, are working to refurbish Marna O’Brien, Regency Heritage and Windsong parks, to ready all for reopening. While Measure Z assures revenues to keep the parks maintained, upfront money and work is needed to get the parks ready for the public after a long period of closure.
This Saturday at Marna O’Brien Park, a “Tile Wall Art” painting session will take place from 8 a.m. until noon. For a $20 donation, families can paint one or more tiles that will be used to form a wall in the snack bar and will be a permanent reminder of the contribution, according to Thursday's news release. Click here for more on fundraising activities for the parks.
To date, Nordquist said pledges from the community have totaled approximately $25,000, not including materials needed for the rehab efforts.
"Momentum is really picking up," he said.