Feb. 17, 2011 at 1:04 PM ET
Less than 10 days after launching, the "Detroit Needs a Statue of RoboCop" campaign reached its $50,000 goal via the project fundraising website Kickstarter. One source matched the $25,000 raised by more than 1,000 individual contributors, assuring the future of this half-cop, half-machine, all-statue commemoration of the 1987 sci-fi movie starring Peter Weller.
Days earlier, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing put the kibosh on the original suggestion submitted to the city’s Internet campaign seeking ideas to help revitalize the ailing Motor City. "There are not any plans to erect a statue to Robocop," Bing tweeted (on Twitter).
For Detroit resident John Leonard, Mayor Bing’s tweet was a call to action. His "Build a statue of Robocop in Detroit" Facebook page led to the "Detroit Needs A Statue of Robocop" Kickstarter project, helmed by Imagination Station. The nonprofit group charged with cleaning up Detroit’s blighted areas pledged Roosevelt Park as the Robocop statue’s future beat, where he will follow his prime directive to "serve the public trust, protect the innocent, uphold the awesome."
Kickstarter is a fundraising platform for independent profit and non-profit projects to which anyone can contribute as little as $1 or as much as they want. As with "Detroit Needs A Robocop Statue," a project is posted on the site, with a goal amount to be raised. Contributors lock in their donations via Amazon.com or other payment means, but aren’t charged until all the money is raised and the project goes through.
Most of the "Detroit Needs A Statue of Robocop" donors shelled out $35 or less, but in such numbers, $25,000 quickly came through. Pete Hottelet, owner of Omni Consumer Products, stepped up with the matching contribution, which seems only appropriate. Sci-fi fans no doubt recognize the name as the corrupt corporation from the "RoboCop" movie, heartlessly building a cyborg from a felled officer and family man after its ED-209 enforcement droid proved too murderous.
The Omni Consumer Products that donated to the project, on the other hand, manufactures products based on fictional movie items. So there you go.
Just as "Detroit Needs A Robocop" drew Internet donors from all over the United States, it’s received plenty of criticism across the Web from those who feel one of the most blighted cities in the country could use something other than a statue of "a cyborg from a movie depicting Detroit as a dystopian, corporation-controlled nightmare."
In a "quick comment to address some concerns that $50,000 could be better spent," Imagination Station member Jerry Paffendorf writes on the "Robocop" Kickstarter profile page:
The truth is, it can be very hard to get people excited about parting with their hard earned money, no matter how worthy a cause. When something like a RoboCop statue comes along and gets people psyched about collectively crowd funding something in Detroit, that energy needs to be encouraged, and ultimately it can be channeled into other efforts and a general awareness that things like this are possible (and in fact happen) here.
He goes into well-reasoned detail about the positive fallout that accompanies projects such as the RoboCop statue on his blog, The Great American Pixel.
"RoboCop statue campaign a lesson in saving Detroit," by Steve Neavling of the Detroit Free Press is good read as well.
Oh, and if you're saying to yourself, "I'll fund that for a dollar," you can still get in on the "RoboCop" donation action. Imagination Station plans to use the the money to support community projects throughout Detroit.
Because seriously, y'all. If you're angry about something as awesome as a crowd-funded Robocop statue, you just want to be mad.
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