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Where are things at with the Fairmont Community Center Today?

This is a question many of us have heard the last few months, and it is a good one. But before we can update you, We would first like to briefly review the history of this project. In 2014 the local grass roots group Project 1590 surveyed the community to find out what improvements to the area people would like to see. The number one response was a community center. Based on the results of their survey Project 1590 began the process of coming up with ideas on how to fund building a community center here, which is how the local sales tax option idea was created. Project 1590 brought this idea to the city council who agreed to put it on the ballot for a city wide vote. On November 8, 2016, the citizens of Fairmont voted overwhelmingly in support of the local option sales tax, which allows the city to raise $15 million in revenue from this one-half of one-percent tax over 25 years. Both the Project 1590 survey results and the recent election results clearly show that there is majority support for a community center project in this community and this project has been the talk of the town for a better part of a year. So where do things stand today?
After the election, city officials reached out to many local community leaders to begin discussions on "What do we do now?" on this community center project. Any project of this nature is inherently a public/private partnership, and projects of this type are large and complex. In consultation with the city, a new group was formed to begin the due diligence process of formally creating a plan that would result in the construction of a community center. To be clear, this new group is not Project 1590, while many active 1590 members are part of this group, it is a new, stand alone committee with only one goal, to get a community center built in Fairmont. We write to you today to give you an update on what this group has done the last few months to keep this community center project moving forward.
The group’s first two meetings were attended by a large number of community members, too many to be an effective working group. So at the second meeting we developed a plan to trim our numbers down to a main working group of a manageable size and establish a plan for sub-committee work. This working group then set out to answer this seemingly simple question- "How do we get from where we are today, to an actual building of which this community will be proud?" We determined that we needed to develop a business plan and a model to figure out what we should build, and how that would be funded. Affordability and sustainability are crucial to this project, much focus has been placed not just on initial construction costs, but also annual operating budgets of the facility once built.
At the outset, it became clear to the group that third party experts, companies who work on projects like this for a living, needed to be engaged. As such we have now interviewed three different organizations, each of them highly qualified as owner’s representatives or construction managers, to help Fairmont navigate this process. Our committee is currently vetting these three groups to determine which may be the right fit for our community and the project we envision. Who we work with to keep this project moving forward is a critical question, one we are taking very seriously. Many people are putting in a lot of time to try and get it right. We look forward to giving you future updates on this project as details and plans develop. But for now, please know that many talented people are working very hard on finding the right path forward to make the Fairmont community center, something so clearly supported by a majority of Fairmont citizens, a reality. We welcome any questions or feedback you'd like to share.- Please contact either of the co-chairs of our group, Brandon Edmundson ( or Steve Hawkins ( with any questions you may have or if you’d like to be involved in a sub-committee.

Brandon Edmundson
Steve Hawkins
Fairmont Community Center Action Committee

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