J.R. Simplot presented a $10,000 cheque on Thursday, December 7, to the Portage Junkyard Dogs Cycling Club to go toward the recreation park at what locals have called Toboggan Hill.   

Simplot Raw Development Agronomy Manager Scott Graham says Simplot has been a part of the community for a long time, and since their expansion, they want everybody to know that they're going to be here for generations to come.

"Community involvement is very important to Simplot," says Graham. "It's one of our core values, and we just thought that this would be a great opportunity to be involved to invest in the community, and get youth involved."

He notes it's also to benefit people from outside our city, so that everyone can come and enjoy the new park. 

"It feels very good," adds Graham. "I just want to say thank you to the Portage Junkyard Dogs for making this a reality. It's very exciting for ourselves at Simplot and the community. A huge shout-out to the Yuill family for the incredible support, as well, for this project. There are people at our at Simplot that use the biking system and they are excited about the opportunity."

Portage Junkyard Dogs Cycling Club president Blair Geisel says it's fantastic to see this kind of donation come in. 

"We have a lot of money yet to raise, at least $200,000, and this is going to go a long way in reaching that goal. Hopefully, other people in the community take up the banner like Simplot has, step up, and help us with the park."

Geisel adds it's more than a bike park. He explains it's a park that's going to preserve the toboggan hill, adding wheelchair-accessible trails, and, of course, cycling. 

"We're actually doing very well and we've got about $420,000 of the $620,000 that we require," notes Geisel. "The community has been very supportive and I think we will reach our goal."

JYD donationFrom left - Portage Junkyard Dogs Cycling Club president Blair Geisel & Simplot Raw Development Agronomy Manager Scott Graham

He says the Junkyard Dogs will be at McMunn and Yates on December 16, giving out cookies and cocoa. 

"McMunn and Yates are going to have a Picture-With-Santa Day, and so we're going to be there and participate," says Geisel. "It's a time when people can come in and make a donation. We still have a couple of $100,000 to go. So if anyone wants to donate, they can go to portagejyd.com, and there are instructions on that website on how to donate," notes Geisel. "They can receive a tax receipt, so they'll get some tax benefit from that donation."

Geisel says they thank the Yuills for their $100,000 contribution, which is a matching fund. For every dollar that's raised from the community, the Yuills will match it with another dollar up to a maximum of $100,000.

"I think there's still $32,000 left in that matching fund that can be raised in the community," notes Geisel, "and that's matched with nonprofit and individual donations, not corporate donations."


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