Sep 9 2013, 7:00am CDT | by PR.com
Natural Bridge, VA, September 09, 2013 --(PR.com)-- Valerie and Jason Bloomberg from Herndon, Virginia today announced that they are mounting a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to help save the Natural Bridge of Virginia from going to auction. The Indiegogo campaign can be found at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/save-natural-bridge/ . Crowdfunding is an approach to raising funds that leverages social media on the Internet.
“We want to purchase, conserve, and improve this property so it can be enjoyed by the public for years to come,” said Valerie Bloomberg. “The Natural Bridge itself is unique, of course, but what really makes Natural Bridge so special are the staff and the guests who return year after year.”
Natural Bridge in Western Virginia is considered by many to be one of the seven natural wonders of the world, according to its National Historic Landmark Nomination. The Natural Bridge is an immense natural stone arch that is the central attraction on a 1,600-acre complex that includes a gracious hotel, caverns, a wax museum, and hundreds of undeveloped wooded acres.
Originally owned by Thomas Jefferson, the Natural Bridge has a unique place in American history. But today, Natural Bridge is in danger. It’s on the auction block, and it’s possible that it will be sold off in separate parcels. That might spell the end for the Natural Bridge community as it exists today.
“We are simply a couple who fell in love with Natural Bridge and the people who run it, and who have a plan to turn this gracious place around,” said Jason Bloomberg. “We’re not in it for the money. In fact, we plan to reinvest all profits back into the business until our full dream for the entire facility is realized.”
Real estate investors have expressed interest in putting houses on some of the parcels, and there is also a local movement to donate the Natural Bridge to the state or federal park service. But either approach may drive the hotel out of business, and with it, over one hundred local jobs may be lost. The Bloombergs want to keep the property together and to keep it in private hands, as it has been since the eighteenth century.
Rockbridge County, nestled among Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, is a modest, sparsely populated area with little industry other than agriculture. Natural Bridge is one of the main employers, and many staff have been there for decades. They are a dedicated community, a group of people whose love of the Natural Bridge brings them together.
The Bloombergs intend the proceeds of the fundraising campaign to be used for improvements, including a swimming pool, Family Fun Center, horseback riding, and a world-class spa, in addition to much-needed renovations. The Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, including a video the Bloombergs made that features the staff of Natural Bridge, can be found at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/save-natural-bridge/.
About Valerie and Jason Bloomberg
Valerie Bloomberg is an entrepreneur and marketing expert who has worked in several sales and marketing positions, starting in the newspaper industry in her early twenties, then following her passion for music into the radio business. After spending four years teaching herself online marketing, she launched her first company, BrenAriS Online Media, in 2002. An online marketing and publishing company, the business was eventually renamed BrenAriS-Bloomberg in 2009.
Jason Bloomberg is President of ZapThink, a Dovel Technologies Company. He is a global thought leader in the area of enterprise information technology. He has a deep background in business management, having built ZapThink LLC from a two-man firm to its acquisition by Dovel Technologies. He is a frequent conference speaker and prolific writer. His new book, The Agile Architecture Revolution: How Cloud Computing, REST-based SOA, and Mobile Computing are Changing Enterprise IT (John Wiley & Sons), was published in March 2013.
Both Valerie and Jason have experience in real estate investing and renovations, having purchased, rented, and sold several properties over the years. Natural Bridge is a new project for them and they are very excited about the challenge.
About Natural Bridge
Originally owned by Thomas Jefferson and in private hands ever since, the Natural Bridge of Virginia is one of the oldest tourist destinations in the United States. It's located in the city of Natural Bridge, in Rockbridge County.
Popular with Europeans in the 18th and 19th centuries, Natural Bridge and Niagara Falls were the two wonders of the new world. The Bridge has been included in several “Seven Natural Wonders of the World” lists, mostly in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and was mentioned in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.
Vacationing guests from all over the world took day trips from Natural Bridge on horseback or horse drawn carriages to explore the countryside. The braver guests could be lowered over the edge from the top of the bridge in a hexagonal steel cage while a violinist played.
It has been designated a National Historic Landmark, a Virginia Historic Landmark, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
In addition to the bridge itself, today Natural Bridge features a hotel, wax museum, caverns, butterfly exhibit, Native American village, and gift shop.
valeriebloomberg (at) gmail.com
Valerie and Jason Bloomberg
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