Community center plan will offer many answers

Is Fairmont going to build a community center? When? How much will it cost? Where will it be located? What will it house? What are the operating and maintenance costs going to be? Will there be sufficient use? Will there be user fees?

The questions abound. So the Fairmont City Council, which has a funding stream from a new local option sales tax, needs some answers. As do their constituents, who have a wide array of opinions on what they want in a community center, or whether they want one at all.

So the council did the right thing this week when it approved a $125,000 outlay to fund a community center business plan. The money will fund a process to create a team of professionals to help the Community Center Action Team determine what amenities people want in such a facility, as well as what the community can afford. The city says the plan will generate defined, specific and accurate information.

At the end of it all, the ball will be back in the City Council’s court. That’s where it will belong, because the ultimate decision to build or not rests with elected officials.

Those entirely opposed to a community center do not want the study and planning, but this is obvious. It’s also unfair to the process. Community members and the council need information to make any final decisions. There are those who want to see what the plan is and means. There are those who may not know, at present, where they stand on the issue. The plan is, indeed, the next step, with the last steps to be determined.