Event to highlight local projects

FAIRMONT — The holiday season is upon us, and soon families and friends will get together with a spirit of thankfulness and celebration.

One of the things we can be thankful for is our local community. Many people seek to show their thankfulness by doing what they can to make the community a great place to live. In recent years, many local organizations, including Project 1590, have sought to do just that.

However, it can be difficult to keep up with everything. With talks of an indoor playground at Five Lakes Centre Mall to a much talked-about potential community center, one can be forgiven for not being able to stay in he know. With that in mind, the Project 1590 board of directors, along with other community groups, is seeking to make itself as accessible and open to the public as possible.

Heather Hawkins and Ed Willett shared that there will be a day-long open house at Red Rock Center for the Arts allowing people the opportunity to learn about various projects, as well as offer their opinions. Hawkins has dubbed the event “Fairmont Happy Hour.”

“I called it ‘Fairmont Happy Hour’ because these are all happy factors for our community,” Hawkins said. “But it’s not just a 1590 thing, it’s really meant to be inclusive.”

Hawkins discussed how and why the event came into being.

“Project 1590 started three years ago and we had this night of big ideas at the mall,” she said. “We started with no money and really just an idea, but we were able to gather a lot of people which helped energize it and get people engaged. Then the second thing we did was when we revealed all the ideas at the Holiday Inn, so there were these large gatherings and there was an exchange of ideas and a lot of excitement.

“So we want to get back to that and now, just three years later, there are so many projects happening or in the works beyond Project 1590.”

Many organizations and projects will be represented at the event, including the Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce, Fairmont Economic Development Authority, Red Rock Center for the Arts, Fairmont Opera House addition, Fairmont Lakes Foundation and the paddle rental system, and the Lakeview Methodist Health Services expansion.

There also will be Project 1590 representatives on hand to discuss things such things as a trail system expansion, indoor playground at the mall, From the Ground Up and others.

“There will be one representative from each organization listed, and that way they can talk about what they’re working on that’s exciting for our community and also offer a chance for visitors to ask questions, talk about things, and even share new ideas,” Hawkins said.

As an example of one of the projects that will be represented, Willett, vice chairman of the Kids Just Want to Have Fun 1590 group, discussed the indoor playground at the mall. Willett has been on the 1590 board for about a year.

“Kids Just Want to Have Fun was one of the categories that was originally voted on, so when I came to Steve [Hawkins] with the idea of trying to get the playground inside the mall, he said this was a perfect area for that,” he said. “There was already a group in place, and there was about two or three people really interested in that. Since then, there’s now about six or seven of us that are fairly active with it.

“One of the things we would share is that the advantages of an indoor playground are for kids to have a place to come in inclement weather or to have someplace to go for four to five months when they’re not going to use the outside. So we’ve run different fundraisers and applied for different grants, we have a Facebook page and are on the internet.”

For those interested, Fairmont Happy Hour will be held throughout the day on Nov. 30. Open house times are 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Presentations will be given at 12:15 p.m., 5:15 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. There is no fee to attend, and refreshments will be provided. People also will be able to register for door prizes.