Wild Hearts African Farm

1. To which Review Panel are you submitting this project?
Quality of Life
2. What is the title of this project?
Wild Hearts African Farm
3. Please provide a short, non-technical description of the project, no more than 2-4 sentences.
Wild Hearts Zoological Society (DBA; Wild Hearts African Farm) will expand into an educational farm that will give tourists an opportunity to experience African wildlife conservation without leaving Ohio. Visitors will enjoy unique recreational experiences that will include wildlife viewing, craft making, livestock guarding dog demonstrations, conservation lectures, behind-the-scenes encounters and personal safari tours. This project will not only drive tourism to Preble County but will also create jobs and student internship opportunities. This type of tourism called is called "agritourism", and is supported by The Ohio Farm Bureau and state legislation to promote agriculture and broaden tourism opportunities in Ohio.
Requester and Recipient
4. Name of organization making this request
Wild Hearts Zoological Society
5. Address
8079 Salem Rd
6. City
Lewisburg
7. State
Ohio
8. Zip Code
45338
9. County
Preble
13. State
Ohio
16. Which category best describes the type of organization that is the recipient for project funding?
Non-profit
Contact Information
17. Name
Amanda Badger
18. Title
President
19. Organization
Wild Hearts Zoological Society (DBA: Wild Hearts African Farm)
20. Address
8079 Salem Rd
21. City
Lewisburg
22. State
Ohio
23. Zip Code
45338
24. County
Preble
25. Phone
(937) 416-5520
26. Email
amanda@wildheartsafricanfarm.org
Project Information
28. City
Lewisburg
29. County
Preble
30. Congressional district
Ohio 8th
Funding Request and Budget Information
31. What is the dollar amount of funding you are seeking in the next year?
$1,500,000.00
32. What is the total project cost?
$2,000,000.00
33. Please list sources, amounts, and status of other funds that this project has previously received or is likely to receive in the future.
The most significant contribution to date was the purchase of our current 31-acre property (valued at ~$420k) by a Preble County resident who wanted to help bring in tourism and recreation to the area. We are is in the process of applying for grants and funds from private foundations, corporations, and private sources for 2018. We have had several donations from local lumber and constructions companies and private individuals that contributed to the building of our Petting Zoo & Gardens of approximately $12k. In the future, we expect to maintain growth and sustainability by our farm product sales, admissions, classes, workshops, seasonal festivals and events, outreach programs and continued financial support from our community.
34. How will the requested funds be used? Please check the category that best fits the project. Then, if you have additional information to provide regarding the use of funds, please provide this information with your supporting documentation (see question #52). EX: if this is for construction, please provide information on the proposed building, its purpose, size and location. If this is for operations, please describe if the money will be used for salaries, rent, equipment, services, etc. The more detail provided, the better the committee can understand the value of your project. This is particularly important for projects seeking operations funding.
Construction or Capital
35. Do you have matching funds raised or committed?
no
37. Do you have a budget with funding details for the project? If so, please send the budget as an attachment under question 52.
Yes
38. By what date will you be ready to spend the funds?
Immediately
39. Are there particular state or federal programs or private grants under which this project would qualify for funding? Please be as specific as possible.
USDA Rural Business Development Grant
Community Impact and Job Creation
40. What is the community issue or need that your project will address?
Wild Hearts African Farm believes we can address the community needs for recreational and unique opportunities that would enhance the quality of life in Preble County in four primary ways:
EDUCATION
- Provide the next generation opportunities to become involved in conservation
- Create a convenient location for weekday school and scout group field trips
- After-hours STEM-oriented classes and workshops
- Offer distinct programs that engage visitors in an unduplicated way
EMPLOYMENT:
- Grow our internship service learning program
- Hire permanent and part-time farm staff
CONSERVATION AND CULTURE:
- Exposure to other cultures and their impacts on agriculture and wildlife
- Teach a holistic conservation approach that considers the people, animals, land, and the economy
- Provide a setting to learn about African tribal culture
TOURISM:
- Bring day-trippers to Preble County
- Promote local shopping, stay and dining opportunities to out-of-towner
41. What is the measurement that will be used to determine whether the project was a success?
We would measure our success by bringing in visitor attendance that is unparalleled by any other venue in this area.
42. If the project receives funding and is completed, how many DIRECT NEW jobs do you anticipate being CREATED within the next two years?
26-50
43. Please explain how you determined the job creation listed in question 42. One way to support estimated job numbers is to provide examples of similar projects that have created jobs. If you are aware of similar projects, please include details and explain how they relate to your project. This field is limited to 1,000 characters. If you need additional space, please include your information in an attachment, not to exceed 10 pages, which can be uploaded by clicking “yes” on question #52.
Based on our current operational needs we plan to hire additional seasonal and permanent staff to maintain coverage of the expanded areas of the farm. As an agritourism farm, we expect to staff for activities like safari tours as well as managers, maintenance, farm, educators, and admissions. A similar project in the area is the well established Young's Jersey Dairy which is about 40 miles east of us in Springfield, Ohio. They are also an agritourism farm that is very popular. According to their website, they employ 320 farm and restaurant workers seasonally and receive over 1 million visitors per year. About 80 of those workers are year-round farm staff.
44. If the project receives funding and is completed, how many DIRECT EXISTING jobs do you anticipate being RETAINED within the next two years?
None
45. Please explain how you determined the job creation listed in question 44. One way to support estimated job numbers is to provide examples of similar projects that have created jobs. If you are aware of similar projects, please include details and explain how they relate to your project. This field is limited to 1,000 characters. If you need additional space, please include your information in an attachment, not to exceed 10 pages, which can be uploaded by clicking “yes” on question #52.
Our operation is currently all volunteer based at the moment. Funding would allow us to create all new jobs and expand.
46. Using your best guess, over the next 10 years, how many sustained, permanent jobs will the project create and retain if funded and completed? This may include “induced” or “spin-off” jobs.
51-100
47. Please explain how you determined the job creation listed in question 46. One way to support estimated job numbers is to provide examples of similar projects that have created jobs. If you are aware of similar projects, please include details and explain how they relate to your project. This field is limited to 1,000 characters. If you need additional space, please include your information in an attachment, not to exceed 10 pages, which can be uploaded by clicking “yes” on question #52.
By our 10th year, we expect to become the area's go-to facility for many college student's summer and holiday employment. In addition to the jobs created through development, construction, animal care, facility management, there will be secondary jobs we support like veterinarians and local farmers through the purchase of animal feed and grain.
Community Impact and Job Creation Cont.
48. Using your best guess, of the jobs created over the next 10 years, what will the average salary be?
Under $25,000
49. Please explain how you determined the salary amount listed in question 48. This field is limited to 1,000 characters. If you need additional space, please include your information in an attachment, not to exceed 10 pages, which can be uploaded by clicking “yes” on question #52.
Estimated salary based on the bulk of jobs being seasonal farm help peaking between spring and fall.
50. In which of the following counties do you estimate a substantial number of jobs will be created if the project is funded and completed?
  • Preble
51. Are you aware of any opposition to the project? If “yes,” please explain.
Even though we experienced opposition early on with our direct neighbors who were misinformed by the zoning laws, with the help of our zoning director we were able to turn many of their hearts and minds around. So much so even one of the neighbors became a big supporter and joined our Community Engagement Committee.
52. Do you have letters of endorsement or other supporting documents for the project? If “yes,” you may attach one PDF file that contains UP TO TEN PAGES of your supporting documents. This document will be posted online along with your completed questionnaire during the public review period. Please DO NOT exceed 10 pages and do not send separate attachments to the Dayton Development Coalition staff. Project sponsors who exceed 10 pages of supporting documents may be asked to re-submit their project.
Yes
Attach endorsement or other supporting documents for the project
Additional Information
53. Should the state consider a state capital budget bill in late 2017 or early 2018, I would like my project to be considered for a special PDAC state capital budget project list. The Coalition reserves the right to remove projects that are ineligible under state guidelines.
Yes
Feel free to attach additional documents that relate to your project here.
Verify and Finalize your Submission
Confirmation
  • I have reviewed my submission and to the best of my knowledge all of the information entered accurately represent our organization and our project, and I understand my information will be made public.