Two of Lompoc’s volunteer-backed parks soon will have new income sources thanks to a recent donation from the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Members of the Chamber formally presented two “Iron Ranger” donation boxes on Wednesday afternoon to representatives from the River Bend Bike Park and the Disc Golf Course at Beattie Park. The boxes, which will allow park users to securely donate money, will be installed at the respective sites.

“We’re always looking for ways that we can bring in revenue,” said Dave Baker, who accepted the donation on behalf of the River Bend Bike Park.

“People that come to the park, after they’re done they often say, ‘Oh, I’d like to help somehow,’” he added. “Well, now they can.”

The Iron Rangers, also known as honesty boxes, are valued at about $600 apiece. The $1,200 used to purchase them was brought in by various chamber fundraising events, according to Jason Reynolds, a chamber board member who came up with the idea for the boxes.

Reynolds said he got the idea after seeing the boxes in other areas of the country. Considering that Lompoc has so many volunteer-driven projects — the disc golf course and bike park were both built under the Lompoc Valley Parks, Recreation and Pool Foundation and not with city or taxpayer money — he said he thought the boxes could bring some much-needed financial assistance while also showing potential grant providers that the foundation is serious about maintaining its projects.

“It’s there to help with some ongoing funding, but who knows?” Reynolds said. “At this point it’s free money, but the bigger picture is that it helps us utilize it like a tool for bigger and better grant opportunities.”

In the short term, Baker said he’s hopeful that the boxes will bring in $20 to $30 per month. Those funds would go toward park maintenance, he said, and also the purchase of a golf cart for the park.

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Charles Sommer, who accepted the donation on behalf of the Disc Golf Course, said the money raised by the boxes also would be used for maintenance and upkeep. He said that organizers will likely ask for a suggested donation of $1 per round but that no charges will be forced upon players.

“It’s more of a ‘Hey, you’re out here and you’re playing (the course), so why not give back to it and help improve the course?’” he said.

“Having a steady stream of income,” he added, “rather than just going out begging for money and doing fundraisers, would be nice to have.”

Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.

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