Propeller funding drive tops $36,000

Columbus Propeller’s crowdfunding campaign is about $13,000 away from reaching its goal.

As of Dec. 23, the campaign — which can be found at patronicity.com/propeller — had raised $36,775 since its Nov. 16 launch. If it raises $50,000 by Jan. 15, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority’s “CreatINg Places” matching grant program will provide an additional $50,000. The funds will go toward exterior improvements and beautification of the Propeller facility.

“I’m pleased with the mix of small and large gifts,” said Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Frey. “Every little bit helps.”

The crowdfunding effort has seen some large donations, including recent gifts of $10,000 from the Columbus Area Visitors Center and $5,000 from the Custer Nugent Foundations. Other sizable donations include $10,000 from Tom and Barbara Schoellkopf, $2,500 from Johnson Ventures, $2,500 from the Duke Energy Foundation and $1,000 from Dillon Hashman.

Donors who give $25 or more to the campaign receive gifts and perks as a thank-you, with these benefits increasing based on the amount given. For someone who gives $10,000 or more, benefits include naming rights for certain spaces at the facility, an individual recognition plaque, shout-outs on social media and recognition at a wrap party.

So far, more than 80 patrons have donated to the campaign, which promises to “turn a drab, industrial building into a showplace with freshly painted murals, signage, an outdoor kitchen, seating, and landscaping.”

“A new viewing platform will provide residents who love aviation to sit in a comfortable and shady setting to watch all the excitement at Indiana’s fourth busiest airport. Finally, an installation from Exhibit Columbus will be repurposed in (the) public plaza. The glow from the installation and overhead lights will make outdoor evening events possible, bringing new energy to the AirPark,” according to a description of the project.

In addition to these changes, Landscape, Art & Architecture Office’s master plan for the facility also includes a greenhouse, facade treatments and wayfinding.

Frey said she feels confident about the campaign and humbled by the support it’s received. She also noted that there are a “couple of things in the pipeline” in regard to corporate donors.

Columbus Propeller has been described as a place for both “makers” and entrepreneurs. It is located in two buildings that are owned by the Columbus Municipal Airport and were previously occupied by Cummins, Inc., which had used the space for testing engines.

According to Propeller leadership, the space is outfitted for a variety of activities, including 3-D printing, machining, welding, woodworking, electronics, sewing and vinyl cutting. There are also spaces for start-up support and STEAM classes.