FAIRMONT– The Fairmont Area Community Center Foundation continues to work to raise money for the proposed community center. To date, the Foundation has raised nearly $5 million for the construction and operation of a community center.
The Foundation was established in September 2021 following an announcement that the Rosen family, the Krahmer family and Fairmont’s Mayo Clinic Health System were partnering to pledge $4.5 million in funding.
Since then, the Foundation has raised an additional $400,000 for the project and has so far raised 75 percent of its initial goal with a total of $4.9 million in pledges and one-time cash donations.
Foundation member Amy Long said they have been doing a lot of fundraising behind the scenes because they recognize there are still a number of unknowns at this point about the project.
“The Foundation is just one of the partners in this whole Fairmont Area Community Center project. Obviously, it depends on the city’s final design and construction plans and us getting the final dollar amount for what will be built.” Long said.
He said with that in mind, the Foundation has focused on its partnership with the YMCA, which it secured in March. They are also working with the city and the Community Center Advisory Board to develop building plans.
“That’s taken up quite a bit of time. It’s not that we haven’t been raising funds, it’s just been a little quieter because of some of these key things that have to happen.” Long said.
The Community Center Advisory Board is tasked with making recommendations to the city council on planning, construction and funding.
While construction plans and budget are still being finalized, the Foundation has set the project budget at $20 million, with the city contributing $14 million from the local option sales tax which was approved in 2017, and the Foundation privately raising $6 million for construction.
In addition, the Foundation is also targeting a $500,000 raise for a Founders Fund, bringing the total fundraising goal to $6.5 million.
“This is specific to start-up operating costs. This is a tactic to ensure long-term sustainability of operations.” Long explained.
There is no timetable for when they want to raise the funds. Long said they would like to raise all the money when construction begins, but that is still unknown. However, he said they are working with financial institutions that work with community projects like this that are able to provide a loan or cash that is required for construction when the time comes so they can continue to raise funds.
“But the Foundation is very confident that we will be able to reach our initial goal of $6.5 million in the short term.” Long said.
From now on, the Foundation plans to have one or two representatives available for any opportunity they have to meet with the Community Center Advisory Board, the city and the YMCA.
Regarding citizen participation, the Marketing and Communication Committee, a committee of the Foundation, has been present at various community events. Long said they plan to have a booth with information at the Martin County Fair.
“Right now I feel like we have good momentum with the contracts in place with the city and the architects, the owner’s representative and the construction manager. Everyone is on board now, under contract, working on this community center project.” Long said.
He said they encourage people to reach out and ask questions about the project, but also about donating. He said they are looking for other community members, leaders and businesses to join the effort with the Foundation.
“This is exciting. We need to start celebrating progress and the possibility of what’s to come.” Long said.
For more information about the project or to make a pledge or donation, visit fairmontcommunitycenter.com.
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