I just got back from the awards banquet for the contest and I'm still in shock. While I didn't won the grand prize, I did get second place, which comes with a $750 prize to be used for the project! I also got a lovely award, which I plan to frame along with a copy of the check and the program from the awards luncheon.
Not only that, several people came up to me to offer various kinds of assistance with the project. This is actually going to happen!
Now i really have to ramp up my search for a location.