Propeller campaign still short as deadline nears

A local makerspace’s crowdfunding campaign has just a few days left to raise the last $5,230 it needs to receive a matching grant.

The campaign — which can be found at — had raised $44,770, as of Tuesday morning. If it reaches $50,000 by 1 p.m. on Jan. 16, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority’s “CreatINg Places” matching grant program will provide an additional $50,000, said Columbus Area Chamber President Cindy Frey. The funds will go toward exterior improvements and beautification of the Columbus Propeller facility.

Frey said that she is feeling good about the campaign’s progress and is expecting some checks that will put them over what they need, though she “won’t count my chickens until they hatch.”

So far, over 100 patrons have donated to the cause. Frey noted that their gifts have ranged from $10 to $10,000.

“That’s the spirit of this community,” she said. “… Everybody’s doing their part.”

Donors who give $25 or more receive gifts and perks as a thank-you, with these benefits increasing based on the amount given.

The campaign 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.

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.